The Four Questions

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without that thought?

Then: Turn the thought around and find opposites.

 

Now let’s look more specifically at the four questions in action:

1. Is it true?.

    The question, “Is it true?” seems so simple. The question invites us to go deep, to sit and really look at each troublesome thought; either alone or with the assistance of a facilitator or guide. For example, a stressful thought might be: “I want them to like me.” Is it true?? Sit in meditation with the question: Is it true?? Take the time, don’t rush, really look before quickly answering. You are looking only for a yes or no. Watch the mind as it attempts to tell us why a particular thought is true and come back to simply asking for a yes or a no.

 2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

    The question, “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” can assist the mind to begin to loosen it’s grip on what it believes and open into more spaciousness. “I want them to like me.” Again, answer with a yes or no only. How much can one absolutely know is true? Anything? It’s okay if the mind still says “yes” to this question. Allow whatever your answer is to be and keep moving with the questions.

3. How do you react when you believe that thought?.

    The question, “How do you react when you believe that thought?” allows us to see all the ways that belief in any particular stressful thought can cause suffering. Do we become frozen, stiff, angry, wild, whatever? “I want them to like me.” How do I react when I believe this? Possible answers might be: I am so focused on what they think. I am so caught up in their business, I may feel frozen with fear or pain in my heart. If we are open to seeing the truth, here is where we can see how suffering is born. In this space of seeing, there is tremendous opportunity for these stressful thoughts to drop away. Once we see clearly how a particular thought causes us pain, how we treat ourselves, others and the world when we believe that thought or if we can see clearly how our mind might believe this thought is benefitting us even when it is not, the thought can drop away. Only a confused mind would cause itself pain. A clear mind will readily drop any thought it sees as bringing itself pain or stress.

4. Who would you be without that thought?

    The question, “Who would you be without that thought” allows for seeing the difference between believing and not believing what one thinks. “I want them to like me.” If there is a willingness to sit with this question, the light that is shed can reveal all the possibilities of living differently, more freely, more open, etc… For example: “Oh yes, without this thought, “I want them to like me.” I am in my own business and am not caring how they feel about me. I feel so much better, lighter, more alive, etc…

 NOW…

Turn the thought around: “I want them to like me.”
a) to the opposite: I don’t want them to like me. b) to the other: I want me to like them. c) to the self: I want me to like me. With each turn-around find three specific examples that feel true to you. These examples allows for the mind to open from it’s previous narrow view and to find a willingness to leap into new territory!

The finding of opposites to the painful thoughts once believed is a crucial part of the process to assist the mind to further loosen it’s grip and widen it’s view. If mind can find willingness to see turn arounds to a particular thought, it allows for a seeing beyond what it has been believing and seeing it’s own projection onto the perceived world.