Observations, Not Criticism

From Chapter 36 of A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie:

I've come to see that there is no such thing as criticism, there are only observations. And there is no observation that does not enlighten me, if my mind is open to it. What could anyone say to me that I couldn't agree with? If someone tells me I'm a terrible person, I go inside myself, and in two seconds I can find where in my life I've been a terrible person; it doesn't take much searching. And if someone says I'm a wonderful person, I can easily find that, too. This is about self-realization, not about right and wrong. It's about freedom.


I have a good deal of practice at this. Paul, my ex-husband, used to yell at me a lot, especially after I got a little clarity in 1986. He wasn't happy with my change. ... He equated loving him with doing what he wanted me to do, and his story overrode reality every time. When he yelled at me, his chest and face would expand, he'd blow up like a balloon, get very red and very loud, and wave his arms a lot. All I could see was a dear man who was frightened of losing me and who was doing the best he could. He was yelling at himself, thinking it was me. And I would just love him and appreciate him and listen to the music of his complaints, ...

If a criticism hurts you, that means you're defending against it. ... If you're interested in your own peace of mind, you'll become more and more aware of that sense of wanting to defend yourself against a criticism. And eventually you'll be fascinated to find the missing pieces of yourself that your critic is helpfully pointing out, and you'll ask him to tell you more, so that you can be enlightened even further.

Criticism is an immense gift for those who are interested in self-realization. ...

And at the end of that chapter, the brilliant:

... When you're aware of being a student, everyone in the world becomes your teacher. In the absence of defensiveness, gratitude is all that's left.

^z - 2014-12-22