Four Liberating Questions

By Tom Moon, MFT–

Corey came to see me, consumed with hurt and rage. Two years ago, his partner Lyle, whom Corey said “was the love of my life,” abruptly moved out of their apartment and disappeared while Corey was at work. In the following days, Corey discovered that Lyle had been involved with Lyle’s “best friend” for more than a year, and that the two had left the state together. Corey subsequently spent most of his waking hours so preoccupied with angry and vengeful thoughts that his life came to a standstill. He wanted to let go, but he felt completely stuck.

Together, we tried a number of methods to get him unstuck, and what finally did it was a process of self-examination developed some years ago by a woman named Byron Katie. Beginning in her early thirties, Katie was so depressed and stuck in self-loathing that she was often unable to get out of bed for days or weeks at a time. One morning, in a sudden moment of life-changing insight, she saw that her suffering came from her thoughts about her situation—such as “my life is horrible,” and “I don’t deserve happiness”—and not from the situation itself. She realized a simple truth: when she believed her thoughts, she suffered, and when she didn’t, she was happy.

Out of this insight, she developed a process of self-inquiry which she now calls “The Work.” It involves asking four simple questions about each belief that causes us pain:

  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 the thought?

After answering these questions, respondents are asked to come up with a “turnaround,” a sentence expressing the opposite of what one believes. So, for instance, “He doesn’t understand me,” could become, “I don’t understand him,” or, “I don’t understand myself.”

I see “The Work” as a form of self-directed cognitive therapy. It has helped many thousands of people to get out of their mental ruts and to improve the quality of their lives.

Corey and I applied this process to his belief that: “In order for me to be happy, I need Lyle to admit he hurt and betrayed me, and I need him to offer apologies and restitution.”

Here is an abbreviated summary of our discussion:

Tom Moon: “Is this idea true?”

Corey: “Yes!”

Tom Moon: “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?”

Corey: “Well, no, I can’t really know what would happen if he ever did actually come clean with me. Maybe I’d be happier, and maybe I wouldn’t feel any different than I do right now. I’m not much of an expert on how to be happy.”

Tom Moon: “How do you react when you believe that thought?”

Corey: “I feel heavy, bitter, weighed down. I feel vengeful. And I feel helpless because he has to do something in order for me to be happy, and he isn’t doing it.”

Tom Moon: “Who would you be without the thought?”

Corey: “I’d feel a lot lighter and happier, that’s for sure. Lyle would finally really be gone from my life. When I think about him all the time, it’s like he’s still with me every day.”

Tom Moon: “Okay, now turn the thought around into its opposite: The first thing that occurs to me is that I don’t need anything from Lyle in order to be happy. It’s believing that I do that is keeping me unhappy.”

As we talk further, another turnaround occurs to him. “I need to admit that I’m hurting myself every time I ruminate about him, and instead of waiting for him to apologize, maybe I need to apologize to myself for what I’m doing to me,” Corey said.

In the weeks that followed, Corey asked these four questions every time he found himself ruminating about Lyle, and was gratified that his destructive preoccupation gradually melted away. Corey’s experience is not unusual. In my work, I’ve found Byron Katie’s process to be a simple, but highly effective, tool for opening the mind and expanding perspective.

An important advantage of this process is that it is easy to learn. Most of the people I work with are able to use it effectively on their own after just a little guidance and coaching. One easy way to begin learning how to do it is to access Katie’s website (http://thework.com/en), where you’ll find a step-by-step description of how to do it.

 

Tom Moon is a psychotherapist in San Francisco. For more information, please visit his website http://tommoon.net/

Byron Katie: Seeing Things As They Are

An interview with Joanna from, welldoing.org

Byron Katie is a speaker and author, and the creator of The Work, a system that promotes generosity, selflessness and harmony. This extract of her new book A Mind at Home with Itself shows The Work in action:

You’ll notice that Katie is very free in her use of terms of endearment.This annoys some people (not all of them New Yorkers); one reader of Loving What Is grumbled that if she wanted to hear a woman calling everyone “sweetheart” or “honey,” she would go to a truck stop in Oklahoma. To her, these endearments sounded conventional and insincere; for Katie, they are the literal truth. Everyone she meets is the beloved.

JOANNA [reading from her Worksheet]: I’m upset with Dave because he walked away without giving me a hug or acknowledging me.

KATIE: Okay. So what’s the situation? Where are you? Give me a picture of where you and Dave are.

JOANNA: We were in the house, and he walked out the door to go to his car.

KATIE: “He walked away without giving you a hug or acknowledging you”—is it true?

JOANNA: Yes. He turned around and walked out of the house, walked to the car; I chased him to the car, and I was throwing my hands up, and he looked at me, and I said, “What’s going on?”And he said, “What?” I said, “Are you just going to leave?” I felt completely unacknowledged.

KATIE: Sweetheart, the answer to the first two questions is one syllable: yes or no. When we do The Work, we meditate on a stressful moment in time. Notice how your mind will want to justify your position and defend it and talk about it. Just notice that. Then come back to meditating on the question “Is it true?”until you’re shown a solid yes or a solid no. Okay? “He walked away without giving you a hug or acknowledging you”—can you absolutely know that it’s true? You don’t have to guess. Images will show you the answer. It takes stillness. Be a detective. If you believe it’s true, be a detective. Try to prove yourself wrong, but be authentic. You can’t fool yourself. Let the images show you. It takes courage to look. So can you absolutely know that it’s true?

JOANNA [after a few moments]: No.

KATIE: Just feel that answer. Give it time to sink in. If you find a no, good; if you find a yes, that’s good too. Then give your answer some room to be absorbed. Sometimes it’s difficult when no is the answer. We may even feel that it’s not fair for him to be right. We don’t want to give him that. [Pause] Okay, let’s move on now to the third question. Continue to meditate on that moment in time, with your eyes closed. Notice how you react, what happens to you emotionally, when you believe the thought “He didn’t hug or acknowledge me.” Does your chest tighten? Does your stomach flip over? Do you get heated? Do you experience anxiety? Do you attack him with words or a look? A demand? An insult or some form of punishment? Notice. How do you react when you believe the thought “He walked away without giving me a hug or acknowledging me”?

JOANNA: I get very anxious and needy. Very needy. I doubt myself. I doubt my worthiness. My self-worth goes down. And then I feel like I have to beg him for attention. Then I start thinking, “Oh, I’m too needy.” And I question everything. I get a desperate feeling almost. Reaching, like trying to grasp for something that’s not real.

KATIE: Just experience that, and keep your eyes closed. Who or what would you be in that situation without that thought, as you witness this man you love as he walks to the car. Who would you be without the thought “He walked away without giving me a hug or acknowledging me”?

JOANNA: I would just notice him walk to the car. [The audience laughs.]

KATIE: Continue to witness that moment without the thought.

JOANNA: I’d probably notice what a handsome guy he is, too. [More laughter] So does that mean in the future when he walks away I should recognize . . .

KATIE: It’s only about right here, right now, as you witness that moment, only the one you’re contemplating now.

JOANNA: Should I never expect him to give me a hug? Should I just accept that that’s what he does?

KATIE: Now we’re in a discussion, and discussions will never solve your problem. Let’s move back to The Work.

JOANNA: Okay.

KATIE: This Work is about noticing what was really happening, not what you thought onto what was happening. It’s not a plan for what to do next. Right now we’re just looking at who you would be in that situation without the thought, without this condition that you put on him. It’s sometimes hard for us to answer this question.The ego wants to be right, it doesn’t want to let him off the hook for not being able to read your mind. We think that if we see who we would be without the thought, then he’s right and we’re wrong,and it’s worth holding on to our anger, because he’s wrong and we’re right.

JOANNA: I think it’s not so much anger. It’s just a feeling of rejection. How do you . . .

KATIE: Yes. It hurts.

JOANNA: I don’t want to feel that anymore.

KATIE: Do you love him?

JOANNA: Yes.

KATIE: All right. Close your eyes. Drop your story, just for a moment. Look at him going to the car. Look how free he is. He loves you so much he doesn’t have to hug you. [Laughter] This is one secure guy. If you drop your story, you’re open to learning. But as long as you believe your story, you’re just open to pain. In fact, you become the cause of your suffering—but only totally. How do I know? It hurts. He’s free. He doesn’t have to tell you goodbye.

JOANNA: Yes, he’s free. He doesn’t understand.

KATIE: He’s completely innocent. Do you see it?

JOANNA: Yes, I do see it. Very clearly.

KATIE: Good. “He walked away without giving me a hug or acknowledging me.” How would you turn that around? What’s an opposite?

JOANNA: He . . .

KATIE: “He didn’t give me a hug or acknowledge me”—turn it around.

JOANNA: He did give me a hug and acknowledge me.

KATIE: Okay. So, tell me, as you witness that situation, where is it that he did give you a hug and acknowledge you?

JOANNA: Well, when he got to the car, he did acknowledge me when I made it clear he hadn’t, or how I felt he hadn’t. He looked at me and said, “What do you want me to do?”

KATIE: And did you say, “You are so handsome! I’d like you to give me a hug, sweetheart.”

JOANNA: I did say it.

KATIE: You did?

JOANNA: Yes. But I didn’t say it like that. [Loud laughter]

KATIE: Oh, you’re fun to hug. In that moment.

JOANNA: Yeah, I could tell it was not as . . . I said, “Well, are you going to leave without giving me a hug or acknowledging me?” Exactly like that. He was just leaving.

KATIE: So you didn’t ask for a hug.

JOANNA: You’re right. I didn’t.

KATIE: You asked a question you already had the answer to.

JOANNA: Okay.

KATIE: And then did he hug you?

JOANNA: He did.

KATIE: And you didn’t even ask.

JOANNA: It was . . . a hug. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was a hug.

KATIE: It wasn’t the hug you wanted. Did you instruct him?

JOANNA: It felt like he was doing it because I asked him.

KATIE: Because you threatened him. [Laughter] You didn’t ask him.

JOANNA: Exactly.

KATIE: Is this starting to make sense to you?

JOANNA: Yes, it is.

KATIE: I love this Work. I love that through inquiry you begin to see who he lives with. [Laughter]

KATIE: So “he didn’t hug or acknowledge me.” Turn it around: “I didn’t . . .”

JOANNA: I didn’t hug or acknowledge him. That’s true. I could have run and grabbed him and hugged him.

KATIE: Yes. Other than what you were believing, you’re as free as he is. That’s a beautiful thing. Okay, let’s look at statement 2. In that situation, what did you want from him?

JOANNA: I want Dave to hold me and look at me before he leaves. Just to look at me.

KATIE: You want him to hold you and look at you before he leaves?

JOANNA: Right. Sometimes I feel like he looks past me.

KATIE: Okay. Now, witness that situation. Close your eyes. “You want him to hold you and look at you before he leaves”—is it true? You know those things you think you really want? Maybe you don’t. You don’t even stop to ask yourself. You just go on believing. So in that situation, “You want him to hold you and look at you before he leaves”—is it true?

JOANNA: In that moment, yes.

KATIE: And after what you’ve seen now? Is it true?

JOANNA: Not as . . . No. Not really.

KATIE: No. Now notice what happens to you and how you react when you believe that thought. And, again, we’re not guessing, are we?[To the audience] Do you all see the images of the two of them, for yourselves? How many of you have become an instant victim of your thoughts? A martyr? [To Joanna] And nothing’s happening except that the man’s going to the car! [Laughter] You’re suffering. You’re a victim. And it’s all his fault! So, who’s the cause of the suffering? Is it him? Or you?

JOANNA: It’s me.

KATIE: And notice how you treat him when you believe this thought. He’s free. He’s walking to the car. “I want him to hold me and look at me before he leaves.”

JOANNA: I start believing all sorts of stories: that he doesn’t really care, that he doesn’t love me.

KATIE: So who would you be without the thought, watching him go to the car, without the thought “I want him to hold me and look at me”?

JOANNA: I would just be happy with what happened. I would just be happy and grateful for what he’s doing. For exactly who he is, how he is, in that moment. I would just love him.

KATIE: Yes. Now let’s turn it around. “I want him to hold me and look at me before he leaves.”

JOANNA: I don’t want him to hold me and look at me before he leaves.

KATIE: What does that mean to you?

JOANNA: I don’t want him to because he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want to, necessarily. It doesn’t mean anything.

KATIE: He probably doesn’t even know you’re there. I mean, only you can know as you look at the situation. What else does it mean to you? “I don’t want him to hold me and look at me before he leaves.” I have one. Would you like to hear it?

JOANNA: Please. Yes, definitely.

KATIE: Did you ask him, “Would you please hold me and look at me before you leave?”

JOANNA: No, I didn’t ask. I just assumed.

KATIE: Is he psychic? [Laughter]

JOANNA: No. I guess I just wanted him to want to.

KATIE: You wanted him . . .

JOANNA: To just be natural. That it would just be natural that he would want to.

KATIE: He is being natural. He’s going to the car. Naturally. That’s his natural. [Laughter] There are two men: there’s the man in your head, and then there’s him. [Laughter] And when he is not the man of your imagination, you punish him. You become cold, or whatever it was you did. Like saying, “Were you going to leave without hugging me?” In that tone of voice. Okay? You become the one he didn’t fall in love with.

JOANNA: Right. That’s so true.

KATIE: “I want him to hold me and look at me before he leaves”—is it true? I know it’s not true because you didn’t ask. [To the audience] If you ask and he doesn’t do it, you again get to meet the man you’re with. [To Joanna] So let’s play that out. Okay? You be the man who doesn’t want to. That’s where you’re going, right? Okay. I’ll be you, and you be Dave. “Would you hold me and look at me before you leave?”

JOANNA: “I can’t. I’m too mad at you. I can’t do it.”

KATIE: “Because you’re too mad at me? Oh, I understand that completely. And would you hold me and look at me even though you’re mad? Could you possibly do that? It’s really important to me. I really don’t care about how you feel right now.” [Laughter]

JOANNA: “Well, that’s too bad, because I don’t care about how you feel either, so have a good day.”

KATIE: “Wow! That’s really good advice: ‘Have a good day.’ Thank you, sweetheart. I’m going to work on that one.”

JOANNA: So your point is to not take things personally and that nobody . . .

KATIE: No, my point is that I can’t change him. Do you want to hug and look into someone’s eyes when you don’t want to?

JOANNA: No, of course not. But don’t we want that from the love of our life?

KATIE: Well, when I want that, I ask Stephen. “Sweetheart, would you look into my eyes and hold me?” If he’s busy, I’ve got an entire population to ask. [Laughter] I can just step out the door and ask the first person I see. [Laughter] Stephen is never too busy, in my experience. But if he were, and I really wanted to be held, why would that stop me? I’m serious. Do you understand that?

JOANNA: But I want it from one person and nobody else.

KATIE: Well, this is just all about me. I’m the one who wants to be held. I’m the one who wants someone to look into my eyes. What does it have to do with him? He’s just handy. [Laughter]

JOANNA: Okay, so . . .

KATIE: You want him to fix you. Isn’t that all that’s happening? “You give me what I need to feel secure, or we’ve got a problem here. I mean, this is all about me.” It would be more honest if you said, “I’m not really doing well, and I know that you don’t want to hug me now, and I know you’re really mad, but I need you to help me because I don’t know another way. Please help me. Help me. Help me. Help me.”

JOANNA: And this person is most likely incapable.

KATIE: He says no.

JOANNA: And probably because he’s incapable of it, no matter what.

KATIE: Well, he just says no. Okay? So, I’m the one left with me, since it’s all about me anyway. I’m left to take care of myself. Can you find another turnaround? Put yourself on all of it. “I want me . . .”

JOANNA: Oh. I want me to hold me and look at me before I leave.

KATIE: Yes, before I completely leave reality. I am a mess. I need to be held. So, as you watch him leave, you might sit there, hold yourself sweetly, and rock, because you’ve got a big problem and it’s not because of him. So put your arms around yourself, hold yourself, get still. If I have a problem, I don’t look to my husband to solve it; that’s not his job. I look to myself. That’s quite a shortcut. It’s for people in a hurry. And as a result, I’m close to my husband—closer than close.That closeness is mine. It’s intimate. I’m connected. So let’s keep traveling. You’re doing really well. “I want me to hold me . . .”

JOANNA: I want me to hold me and look at me . . .

KATIE: Yes. If that doesn’t hold your interest, why would it hold his? [Laughter]

JOANNA: Right.

KATIE: And you can really hold yourself. There are many ways of doing it. And you can go to the mirror and look into your eyes. If you drop your story and really look, you’ll meet the love of your life. We can’t receive that from another human being until we find it in ourselves, until finally we discover that it’s not possible to be rejected.

JOANNA: Thank you. Thank you so much, Katie.

KATIE: You’re very welcome.

Book Tour: 20 October 2017 A Mind at Home with Itself Hosted by Copperfield’s Books

In A Mind at Home with Itself, Byron Katie illuminates one of the most profound ancient Buddhist texts, The Diamond Sutra (newly translated in these pages by distinguished scholar Stephen Mitchell), to reveal the nature of the mind and to liberate us from painful thoughts, using her revolutionary system of self-inquiry called “The Work.” Katie doesn’t merely describe the awakened mind; she empowers us to see it and feel it, in action. At once startlingly fresh and powerfully enlightening, this title offers us a transformative new perspective on life and death and is certain to become a classic.

 

Podcast: The Meat Industry is the Largest, Most Accepted Form of Violence in the World Today

 

To listen on iTunes, click here.

At the 5-day silent retreat in Engelberg, Switzerland (“Being with Byron Katie”) a Dutch woman questions her beliefs about the meat industry. The situation is that she’s watching an undercover video made at a slaughterhouse in Belgium. As she watches, she thinks, “The meat industry is the largest, most accepted form of violence in the world today.” They continue to question the thoughts on her Worksheet such as “I want the meat industry to stop being supported by millions of people,” “I want the meat industry to be revealed to be just as shameful as the slave industry,” “The meat industry should wake up to the fact that animals are sentient beings too,” “I need the meat industry to listen to scientific research (that shows that eating animals is no longer necessary or moral, because there are so many other sources of protein),” “The meat industry is cruel, unethical, unrealistic, unsustainable, a waking nightmare, and a collective cultural shadow,” and “I don’t ever want to see animals being tortured, separated, transported in unacceptable ways, or murdered for a few moments of our sensory pleasure.” To assume that any human being is less wise or less aware than anyone else is something I would question.

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19 October 2017 Conversations on Compassion and The Work with Byron Katie

Step into an evening of radical self-inquiry with Byron Katie, as she launches her new book, A Mind at Home with Itself. The event will begin with a conversation with The Center for Altruism and Compassion Research and Education’s (CCARE’s) founder and director, Dr. James Doty, who will ask Katie about her life’s work and how compassion has played a role. Their conversation will be followed by The Work with Katie, and will end with a book signing. The book combines the brilliant clarity of the Diamond Sutra with the practical power of The Work, a tool so sharp that it can cut through any blindness or delusion of the mind and lead you to the freedom that is your birthright.

 

For more information, click here.

Book Tour: 18 October 2017 A Mind at Home with Itself Hosted by Bookshop Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz is a year-round host to locals, tourists, and students alike. Surrounded by mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and Silicon Valley, Bookshop Santa Cruz hosts a comprehensive author event series featuring appearances by both national and local authors in our beautiful event space, the skylight room.

 

Location:

Bookshop Santa Cruz
1520 Pacific Ave
Santa Cruz, California 95060

 

For more information, click here.

Book Tour: 15 October 2017 A Mind at Home with Itself hosted by Wanderlust Hollywood

Join Byron Katie as she launches her latest book, A Mind at Home with Itself, which springs from the brilliant clarity of the Diamond Sutra and The Work. Katie will engage with participants using her radical self-inquiry that is so sharp it can cut through the most obstinate stressful thought and lead you to the freedom that is your birthright.

 

Byron Katie is honored to spend time with the community at Wanderlust Hollywood, which brings together a fusion of experiences for your journey toward a mindful and inspired life—to finding your true north. Through sharing practice, food, and ideas, this community forms and thrives.

 

For more information, visit our events page at thework.com

The Work and Mindfulness

Apart from my current job, I am taking a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher Training program to become one of the very first MBSR teachers in Croatia. I feel great appreciation for the MBSR program and the work of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and was sad to find none of it is familiar in Croatia – almost no MBSR courses are available here and mindfulness practice in schools, hospitals, business, etc. is very modest, if there is any. I therefore decided to do the training on my own and bring MBSR and mindfulness practice in general to my country, to start speaking up for its benefits. According to the current dynamic of my training, I would start teaching MBSR courses in January 2018. I have the same sense of gratitude for The Work of Byron Katie. Benefits that I have personally experienced from doing The Work in this short period of time since I found out about it are enormous, but I find a lot of “work” is here to be done and find the School would be the most efficient way to do it. I believe the experience of attending the School for the Work would be a valuable addition to my MBSR courses, both for my personal role as a teacher and for my students as well. From what I am learning about The Work, I believe MBSR participants would deepen their experience enormously by getting in touch with how they can approach their thoughts once they have recognized them as thoughts. It is my heart’s desire that in my country as many people as possible will enroll with the MBSR courses and learn about The Work, and in that way, make their conscious steps towards living their lives free from mind’s conditioning and suffering that it causes. As I see it, every single person that “comes home” in such a way stops spreading reflections of his or her imprisonment to the outer world, stops projecting the suffering to his or her beloved ones and becomes an inspiration for other people who cross his or her path, which creates a better world in an instant. Granting me a scholarship to attend the School for the Work would enable me to pursue this approach thoroughly.

—I.G.

The Work in Russia

Dearest Katie,

Thank you for sharing The Work with the world.

I just came back from Russia, where we had the most joyful and wonderful Work event with 48 participants, and then there was a wonderful one in Kiev, Ukraine.

It is difficult to describe the joy, warmth, and love that were there, so many open hearts and so much connection. Thank you so much for all your blessings and support and for inviting the dear ones to the School.

With love and gratitude,

O.B.

Testimonial Tuesday

The Work of Byron Katie is an extraordinarily effective tool for personal growth and inner awakening. Taking up The Work in earnest has revealed the many challenges of my life to be playing but perfect parts in the unfolding of an amazing transformational journey. As the owner of a leadership coaching & consulting business, the Turnaround House helped me see that at the core of all transformational change is self-leadership – the ability to look in the mirror and be the change I want to see in others. By peeling the onion during daily intensive Worksessions, I learned that true influence, true power comes not from influence over others, but from authenticity, integrity – my ability, above all, to be true to myself. From this has come a freedom, a joy, and a trust in life that has only continued to grow since my time in residence. Now, anything that disrupts me holds the key to my growth. Freedom is a choice and The Work is the unlocking move. I will be forever grateful to Katie and the staff at Turnaround House for the profound impact they have had in both my personal and professional life. – NC
Related Links:
Fill out a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet, here.
Loving What Is by Byron Katie

Podcast: How to be Successful—The Work of Byron Katie

 

This podcast is also available on iTunes.
Vanessa Jane Patrick of the “Limitless Potential” podcast interviews Byron Katie. Katie describes her experience of waking up to reality. Vanessa then asks Katie about identity.

Vanessa: If we don’t identify with our thoughts, then what is our identity?

BK: Well, we’re not left with much for ourselves, and yet a lot. If my husband says “I love you,” what he’s thinking and believing about me is who I am to him. My children the same. All people in my life—the same. What they are thinking and believing about me becomes my identity within them. Each identity is held as a separate structure by everyone who knows me. That’s a lot of identities!

For myself, when I see me in my mind’s eye in a situation from the past, that is not me. That’s not my identity; that’s an image. I am the one here speaking to you now, and that’s all the identity I need to hold on to for the moment. When a mind is at home with itself, no identity is necessary. The mind is just wide open to everything, because that’s what love is.I question anything that would interfere with that. And I invite the world to it. Suffering is optional. Living this way is nothing that I can decide or do; it’s the consciousness that I’m left with after inquiry.

Vanessa: How can we have a more creative, fabulous life?

BK: Every time we question our mind, there’s less fake news in the way, fewer things that are not true for us. Inquiry clears the junk out of the mind. In that space of clarity, the choices we make are brilliant. They come out of knowledge and pure creativity and they’re doable. And the directions are all there. But all the things we’re thinking and believing that create the false self, “I, I, I, me, me, me,” is the clutter which keeps us from the awareness of the wisdom that’s always there. Questioning our thoughts is how we give wisdom enough space to reveal itself to us. It’s just waiting for an open mind.

Vanessa: That’s a process I’ve used myself and have found tremendously valuable with clients in shifting their perspective. It creates that space. It’s so freeing. Can we give our audience an example of what inquiry looks like with the four questions, and invite them to go to thework.com and check out the tutorial videos? For example, a client has the thought: “I don’t deserve success.”

BK: I’d ask something a little more basic: “I want success”—is it true? Can you see how much is in that question? Especially if you have a family; it’s a lot to consider. Then close your eyes and meditate on the next question. How do I react, what happens when I believe the thought “I want success”? I compare myself to others. I see them in their suits with their power. They’re going up the elevator in their very own building (laughs). And then I compare that with me, and I am not looking good. I see me trying harder and harder, and failing and failing, when I believe the thought “I want success.” I see my money running out and see what I’ve invested. Then I see me trying again. So I explore that as it’s so telling. No wonder I’m exhausted. That’s emotional and it’s going on all the time. People who are the CEOs of Fortune 500 businesses do exactly the same thing, and it’s not fun. The mind compares. That’s how the ego works. Who would I be without the thought “I want to be successful”? Then I examine my life without that thought superimposed over my life. And then I turn it around to find opposites, like: “I don’t want success.” I open my mind to find “What does that mean to me”? That’s radical for someone who has been worshiping the thought “I want success.” Maybe success would mean time away from my children. Success could require me to hire and fire, and then I feel an onslaught of work. And maybe that’s okay with me, but it also shows me what I need to do to be successful. When we believe we want that success, it wipes out the awareness that we already have success if our goal is a happy life. It’s self-education. We’re tapping into that wisdom whenever we get still like that. And there’s no limit to where The Work on just one concept can take you.

Vanessa: Do you find it’s more difficult for people who have had an actual past experience or is it just the same? For instance if they had all of that success and they lost it.

BK: It would be exactly the same inquiry.

Vanessa: If you could instill one insight into the minds of everybody in the world right now, what would that belief be?

BK: If you’re suffering, there’s a way to end that suffering. That way is to identify what you are thinking and believing about yourself or another person, and write it down and question it.

Freedom is like being brought to love. There’s nothing outside of that. —Byron Katie

 

TheWork.com

 

Testimonial Tuesday

“I was introduced to The Work about 2 years ago. It has absolutely changed my life. I have been acting since I was 10 years old and have dreamt about being a successful actor since then. I was always going on auditions, reading books, attending rehearsals, or watching movies and plays. I concerned my entire life with making it as a professional actor and tried not to concern myself with much else. When I attended my freshman year of college I came face to face with all the buried difficulties, trauma, and sadness that I had pushed aside through my steadfast attitude throughout life. In the first semester of my freshman year my world seemed to collapse and I entered a deep depression. I am incredibly grateful to Ashley Gates Jansen for introducing The Work into my life and to the universe/karma/reality/God for allowing a spark to ignite with it. Since I began practicing The Work, not only did my life turn around, but I also began an incredible spiritual search. I began to read Katie’s books along with Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Rupert Spira, Gangaji, Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and others. I started to meditate in a more traditional style as well as continue to meditate through The Work. I have taken this semester off from college, and since May I have been traveling around and staying at different monasteries and spiritual centers. I have been doing many silent meditation retreats these past 6 months, filling my curiosity with traditions that have spread all over the globe over countless past centuries. This search has currently brought me to Pokhara, Nepal where I am living with a Tibetan Buddhist family and volunteering at an orphanage. I will be here until Christmas and then returning to school to continue with my arts’ education.

Over all of my exploration and “spiritual window shopping” I have found that nothing I’ve found is as applicable, useful, and transformative as The Work. In fact, all of the searching and learning has not only helped with gaining an intellectual and feeling understanding of life and the principles that Hinduism and Buddhism were founded upon, but has also allowed The Work to slowly open and reveal ever deepening layers of those incredible 4 questions. My spiritual life seems to be budding like a flower and The Work synchronizes its opening with me. I continue to be amazed and grateful every time I complete a worksheet and my heart expands even more. I feel forever blessed to have this inquiry in my life and hope to spread it to every person who enters my awareness who is seeking truth, freedom, and happiness. I full heartedly believe that in order to help others one must first help themselves, and that truth has confirmed itself in my life as people only seem to come to me for help when I am feeling emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy. Then I get the wonderful opportunity to share The Work and help open up the universal heart. I hope The School for The Work will allow me to deepen my understanding  and in turn I will be able to give back more to my friends and family who populate this world and who allow me to live in this beautiful place.” – WC

 

Related Links:

Katie’s new book,  A Mind At Home With Itself

Loving What Is by Byron Katie

Book Tour: 12 October 2017 A Mind at Home with Itself Hosted by Third Place Books

In A Mind at Home with Itself, Byron Katie illuminates one of the most profound ancient Buddhist texts, The Diamond Sutra (newly translated in these pages by distinguished scholar Stephen Mitchell) to reveal the nature of the mind and to liberate us from painful thoughts, using her revolutionary system of self-inquiry called “The Work.” Byron Katie doesn’t merely describe the awakened mind; she empowers us to see it and feel it, in action. At once startlingly fresh and powerfully enlightening, A Mind at Home with Itself offers us a transformative new perspective on life and death and is certain to become a classic.

 

“I think Byron Katie is just a real thing. I love her to death. She’s pure and her intent is only to serve and she brings people back to reality so quickly. Teaches them not to believe their limiting thoughts and to question them and find the real truth.” Tony Robbins

 

“Katie is at home with her true self. There is both poetry and prose in her words as she guides and points us toward the peace that she is, and knows we are.” Jane Lynch

“Byron Katie has rocked my world and shaken loose my mind more thoroughly than any other spiritual teacher I’ve ever encountered. I would recommend A Mind At Home With Itself to anyone like me–to anyone who has ever felt like her own mind was a very dangerous neighborhood.” Elizabeth Gilbert

 

STEPHEN MITCHELL’S many books include the bestselling Tao Te ChingThe Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria RilkeGilgameshThe Gospel According to JesusThe Book of JobThe Second Book of the TaoThe Iliad, and The Odyssey. You can read extensive excerpts from all his books on his website, stephenmitchellbooks.com.

 

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