This post brings together a number of key elements in my life. Byron Katie’s new book, A Thouasnd Names for Joy is a collaboration with her husband Stephen Mitchell. Stephen Mitchel has translated a number of the more important books in my life going back a long long time. His translations of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet and the Tao Te Ching among others were constant companions to me for years.
Byron Katie is a woman who practices “The Work”, a mind blowing approach to seeing yourself and your life for what it is in its essence. In as simple terms as possible Katie woke up one morning in an enlightened state with a clear understanding of the workings of the world and mind and began sharing this knowledge with others.
I have long liked thinkers like this, especially Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, whose book I Am That chronicles an enlightened being sharing this wisdom with the many followers who searched him out. To paraphrase-“We are all one ball of energy called love. I understand this and you don’t. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t. Such is the nature of truth and the world.” He delivers this message over and over with compassion- “We are all one energy, it is all love. I get it and you don’t”
I see a wonderful similarity in Katie’s works. In interview after interview or page after page she reinforces the notion that reality is what reality is and finding strength and acceptance in that knowledge is where our peace and happiness comes from.
This book- A Thousand Names for Joy is Katie’s commentary on Mitchell’s translation of the Tao. The Tao is the book that allowed me to think and teach the way I do.
And for good measure: