Podcast: I Had An Abortion When I Didn’t Want To—The Work of Byron Katie

This podcast is also available on iTunes, click here to listen.

A woman resents her husband because she feels he pressured her into having an abortion.

BK: Get still. “You didn’t want to have an abortion”–is it true?

Woman: I only have yes or no?

BK: That’s it.

Woman: I want a disclaimer (laughing). Yes.

BK: How do you treat your husband when you believe the thought “I didn’t want to have an abortion”?

Woman: I blame him. I treat him with suspicion. I question his motives at every turn.

BK (to audience): I invite you all to get out of your head as she has. Be courageous enough to ask, get still, and see what arises to meet the question. (To woman) Who would you be, living with this man for forty-one years, without the thought “I had an abortion when I didn’t want to.” Look at the difference in your marriage.

Woman: We’d both be free.

BK: What is the cause of your suffering?

Woman: The thought, for sure.

BK: Turn it around.

Woman: I did want to have an abortion.

BK: Feel it. Take responsibility for it. You’ve been trying to get him to do it for forty-one years. You’ve been putting that thought onto him for four decades.

Woman: It feels easier to blame him than to take responsibility.

BK: No one can change my mind. You can talk all you want; My mind shifts or it doesn’t. I can never say someone made me decide anything. There was a moment where I believed what I believed and made a decision. That was all mine—I’m 100% responsible.

 

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Interview—A Mind at Home with Itself—Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell

 

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Lisa Natoli interviews Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell about their newly released book, A Mind at Home with Itself.

The book is structured around the Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist text whose main point is generosity. “The more you realize that there’s no such thing as a self—that in reality there is no separation between self and other—the more naturally you become a generous human being,” Stephen explains.

Lisa reads briefly from the book: “How can we be generous, not just occasionally, but all the time—every day of our lives? It sounds impossible, but what if it’s not? What if generosity can become as natural as breathing? This book shows you how.”

Katie adds, “No-self means selflessness, which is a fearless state of mind. Other than the thoughts we attach to, which cause fear, we are selfless.”

Lisa and Katie continue delving deeply into the process of breaking free from the trance that keeps us from reality—from our truly generous selves.

NOTE: Over 900 people will meet online to study A Mind at Home with Itself together: https://www.lisanatoli.com/bookstudy.

 

For more information, visit thework.com.

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

 

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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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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

 

Podcast: How to Work with Trauma—The Work of Byron Katie in Zurich

To listen to the podcast on iTunes, click here.

A man does The Work onstage with Byron Katie during her 2017 Zurich event. In English with German translation. The first statement on his Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet is “I am saddened by my father because he beat and abused me.” BK: In any situation, I really want to know what is real, and what is not, so I question the thoughts that cause my suffering. It’s my job to wake myself up to reality. The fantasy is not that pleasant, so just begin now. This is the time and the place. And what I love about sitting in silence, in The Work, is that it’s all there. Be aware that you are dreaming your past. Notice the difference between reality and imagination. Through doing The Work with Katie, the man discovers some peace in a situation that was pure horror.

“What I love about the past is that it’s over.” —Byron Katie

“Mind is the creator of everything, without exception.” —Byron Katie

Fill our a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet, here.

Website: www.thework.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/theworkofbyronkatie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ByronKatie

Podcast: How to Listen to Your Partner, Part 1—The Work of Byron Katie in Zurich

 

Listen to the Podcast on iTunes.

A husband and wife do The Work with Byron Katie during her 2017 Zurich event. (In English with German translation.) Katie asks the husband to look his wife in the eyes and read from the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet he has written about her.

BK: I invite everyone to this exercise. Allow yourself to listen to your partner and notice: is what they are saying true? Are they right? And if they are, you’re going to feel the burn if your ego is defending you. When you feel that burn from thinking “It’s not fair; he always judges me,” just drop into silence and notice, considering for yourself whether it’s true or not. If he’s right, allow a response of “Thank you” to be enough.

 

For a list of upcoming events, click here.

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

Recent Podcast, Elise is Ignoring Me—The Work of Byron Katie

Podcast: Elise is Ignoring Me—The Work of Byron Katie

Elise is Ignoring Me—The Work of Byron Katie

Byron Katie does The Work with a French man who believes that his girlfriend is ignoring him. His concept is “I’m angry with Elise because she’s ignoring me.” He explains that she’s passionately interested in another man.

Listen to this Podcast on iTunes.

Man: The situation is: we are in a dance hall in the countryside and a man comes along.

BK: What is she doing in that moment when you say she’s ignoring you?

Man: I’m sitting down. Two people come in and start talking to the man about dancing. Her eyes light up and she speaks passionately to that man. It’s as though there are no other people on earth.

BK: Close your eyes and see the scene. She’s ignoring you—Is it true?

Man: Yes.

BK: Look again. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? She is looking only at him. She is looking starry eyed. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

Man: No.

BK: What did you just understand?

Man: I felt included in the room with them.

BK: Does that feel right? In other words, what you just experienced; was it authentic?

Man: Yes.

BK: Close your eyes. In that situation in that moment in time, notice what it feels like and notice how you react when you think the thought she’s ignoring me?

Man: I feel abandoned, nervous, and angry.

BK: You see images of past and future before you can feel annoyed or angry. And I love that you all understand how the mind works; the cause of emotion. You see images of the future and past and you’re asleep to that. As you witness that dream it’s like watching a movie and that’s what brings anger. No matter how quickly your temper rises, past-future has to be in place. So close your eyes. You’re seeing her with her eyes all lit up talking to him. You think the thought “She’s ignoring me.” What images of past and future do you see in your mind’s eye while you’re sitting there? Do you see images of how she used to look at you that way? And then you see pictures in your mind’s eye of a future when she’ll never look at you that way again. Also, you look at him, and then you have an image of you in your mind’s eye. And your mind is comparing him with you. So now you’re sure she’ll never look at you that way again. She’ll always be thinking of him. This is what happened in that moment that you were witnessing her.

Man: Laughs [in recognition of his experience that Katie just described].

BK: So you witness this past and future; you don’t know it’s going on in the moment. If you continue this practice, as you sit in that movie, you can be awake to the cause of the anger and confusion you’re experiencing in the moment.

Now in your mind’s eye, look at her, look at them, and take that story off of then. Get intimate; watch. Get connected. Who would you be, without putting that onto those two people? Without comparing.

Man: I would be happy for her; that she’s able to talk about her passion.

BK: What we want is for everyone to be happy. Why does it have to be you that makes her happy? But no, you want only you to give her that. That is limited love; conditional love.

Man: I’m at peace. It doesn’t bother me. I can accept it.

The Turnarounds

Man: I’m ignoring her.
Examples:
I’m ignoring her passion; her feelings.
I left without her.

BK: When I turn around “I’m ignoring her,” I witness in my mind’s eye, did I ignore her or punish her in any way in the situation? And later, did I hold a resentment; continue not to call, not to talk? Did I continue to punish her or ignore her in any way? If I have, and if it feels right, I contact her, admit it, and make it right where I can. I created it; I need to end my part. It’s like the breadcrumbs; you go back and pick them up, or that will be your past. Take care of it in the present time. It’s a practice.

 

Another Turnaround

Man: I’m ignoring myself.
Examples:
I love her and this is not proof of my love.
I hurt myself all on my own.

BK: Yes, by comparing you with him in your mind’s eye.

With your eyes closed, look at him and look at you. The way you experienced that situation. Look at yourself in your mind’s eye, is that you? No one has ever seen themselves. Not one human being. You see what you imagine yourself to be. When you look at how you saw yourself that night, it was not your best image. You always lose when you compare. You’re always more or less. You believe that’s you so you’re identified as that image which is not you. You’re in the dream and it will affect your next relationships.

I love that you notice any time you feel upset, that you’re in the past and future. You’re not in reality. In reality there’s no anger, no jealousy, no more, no less. Just sanity.

When you compare, you lose. —Byron Katie

 

Related Links:

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

She Tries To Control Me: She Needs To Trust Me

Why Isn’t He Vulnerable—The Work of Byron Katie

Podcast: My Sister Betrayed Me—The Work of Byron Katie in Paris

A French woman does The Work on a situation with her sister that occurred thirty years ago. The woman had just opened her first bank account and was already in the red. Sitting at the dinner table with their parents, her little sister said, “You’re irresponsible.”

The belief she finds by revisiting that moment is “My sister betrayed me.”

Listen to this Podcast on iTunes.

BK: She betrayed you. Close your eyes and witness. Notice how you physically react when you think the thought “She betrayed me.” Describe it as you witness.

Woman: It’s as if I’d been shot with an arrow in my heart.

BK: Did you give her “the look”? We’re looking for those physical tendencies. I want you to get still enough to observe. Does your body tighten? Your shoulders? Your neck?

Woman: I can feel it in my eyes. I’m judging her. I feel myself above her.

BK: Do you feel the pain? Continue to look with your eyes closed. Look at your sister in that moment without the story “She betrayed me.” What do you see?

Woman: Just a little girl with an opinion.

BK: Do you see her innocence?

Woman: She just wants to be part of the family and take part in the conversation.

BK: Look at her again with the thought. Notice the radical difference. Who caused all that suffering, your sister or you?

Together they find turnarounds to her original statement:

Woman: I betrayed myself.

BK: You put your untested thoughts over reality.

Woman: My sister did not betray me.

BK: Could be as true or truer. She just told the truth.

Woman: I betrayed my sister.

BK: In that situation, what does that mean to you? Examples?

Woman: I crystallized the idea that I couldn’t count on her.

BK: She makes a statement that was a simple truth. You betrayed her by what you believed onto her. Not what she did, but what you believed onto her. Not being good with money is a good thing to know about yourself. People who betray you support you to come out of denial. Do you see how this is the end of war? Defense is the first act of war and your reaction to your sister was defense. It’s how the ego stays identified as that self. We have an identification that we want to live up to, like “I’m the responsible one.” When someone threatens the ego’s identity, there’s war. That’s how war is created in our world. If we can’t end the war in our own minds and lives, how can we expect our politicians to? We can’t. When we believe our thoughts, we create not only suffering in our lives but in the world and within our own families.

Defense is the first act of war. —Byron Katie

Podcast: No Teacher is Necessary—Byron Katie Interview with Giovanna Rossi

Today’s topic is How to Identify and Question the Stressful Thoughts that Cause Our Stress and hopefully by the end of the show you’ll be inspired to question the things that cause your suffering and have the knowledge and power to dismantle these stressful thoughts and gain freedom of mind.

Listen to this podcast on iTunes.

Byron Katie is interviewed on “The Well Woman Show” with Giovanna Rossi.

Giovanna: I want to start with a quote from Loving What Is. “No teacher is ever necessary. You are the teacher you’ve been waiting for.” What do you mean by that?

BK: I went to the world for answers—asking others what they advised; but ultimately, I found the answers to all my questions inside. It became so clear to me to just question everything I believed about my life and other people’s lives. As a result, everything shifted dramatically. Every time I questioned my assumptions—the things I was so sure were true—the questioning would show me astonishing truths I had no access to otherwise, truths that gave me a happy, problem-free life. So I invite people to question what they think.

Giovanna: And it is really hard to always be questioning our thoughts. That’s why you have these four simple questions to guide us.

BK: And the questions really are a practice. They are something we meditate on, until the questioning just comes naturally.

Giovanna: You have to focus on it and really do this in order to get to the other side of suffering.

BK: I do The Work all over the world with people and one-on-one, so I’m always in inquiry. And the questioning continues all day long, without effort. So I’m always prepared for life.

Giovanna: What superpower did you discover that you actually found was there all along?

BK: The ability to love without reservation.

Giovanna: I define feminism as equality in social, political, and economic spaces. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

BK: In that way, absolutely. And as women, if we are not in those spaces equally, it’s because of a fearful state of mind. There’s nothing that could stop us in our life if we were not fearful. If I believed anything that didn’t give me equal rights in my life, I would question it.

Giovanna: What do you tell people who are incredibly fearful right now; people who feel like they have no power over our social and political situation?

BK: I’d invite them to love what is, which is different from accepting what is. To love what is is to see things clearly from a balanced state of mind. In that clarity it’s simple to see what we can do to make positive changes in our life and in the world, and there’s no fear to stop it.

“Anyone with an open mind can do this Work; that’s the requirement.” —Byron Katie

 

For more information about Giovanna Rossi, please visit her website by clicking here.

 

More About The Work
The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches how to identify and question the stressful thoughts that cause all of our stress.

The Work was developed by Katie Byron Mitchell who, after a long depression, noticed that she was unhappy when she believed her thoughts. She developed this method to methodically dismantle these stressful thoughts and gain freedom of mind.

Her insight into the mind is consistent with leading-edge research in cognitive neuroscience, and The Work has been compared to the Socratic dialogue, Buddhist teachings, and twelve step programs.

She says: “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment. That joy is in everyone, always.”

As we question the thoughts that pull us away from our true nature, a new reality presents itself. Fear and anger are no longer the default mode. The mind, free from stress, can think creatively, all on it’s own. We create, love, innovate.

Thus we understand that our stress does not emanate from our world but from the stories we make up about it. This is empowering news. It brings our contentment out of the whim of the outside world, into the realm of our mind. Whom else should we trust with our happiness?

People who do The Work as an ongoing practice commonly report: Alleviation of depression: Find resolution, even happiness, in situations that were once debilitating.
Decreased stress: Learn how to live with less anxiety or fear.
Improved relationships: Experience deeper connection and intimacy with your partner, your parents, your children, your friends, and yourself.
Reduced anger: Understand what makes you angry and resentful, and become less reactive, less often, with less intensity.
Increased mental clarity: Live and work more intelligently and effectively, with integrity. More energy: Experience a new sense of ongoing vigor and well-being.

Links:
thework.com
Katie’s new book:
The Mind at Home with Itself
Katie’s other books:
Loving What Is
I Need Your Love is That True?
A Thousand Names for Joy

Podcast: Bregman Leadership Inteview

Can you reduce the amount of suffering in your life just by asking a few specific questions? Peter Bregman started reading Loving What Is years ago. “The idea of accepting life as it is scared me, so I stopped reading the book. Recently I stepped into a workshop with Byron Katie, thinking to myself ‘How can a couple of questions make a big difference?’ but found the experience extremely powerful and now live with the daily awareness of how these simple questions can deeply impact our lives.”

The Bregman Leadership Podcast

Play Podcast

Listen to this podcast on itunes.

Links:
thework.com
Katie’s new book:
The Mind at Home with Itself
Katie’s other books:
Loving What Is
I Need Your Love is That True?
A Thousand Names for Joy

Podcast: I’m Disappointed in Her—The Work of Byron Katie

Listen to this podcast on iTunes.

I’m Disappointed in Her—The Work of Byron Katie

A man whose baby has died struggles with listening to his wife complain about work. His thoughts are “Her world view is rubbish,” “She needs to not care about work,” and “How can she think about work when our baby is dead?” At the core of his inquiry is the belief “She behaved in a way that made our baby Sophia’s death more likely.” MAN: She waited and waited and waited before having a child, and that made it more likely that the child would die. BK: “Her behavior made Sophia’s death more likely”–can you absolutely know that that’s true? MAN: No. BK: And how do you react when you believe that thought? MAN: I feel broken. Snapped. Blocked. Like I can’t go on. BK: How do you treat her in that situation when you believe that thought? You’re looking at her, but you’re seeing the woman who killed your child. MAN: I’m not truthful with her. I’m pretending everything’s okay. I’m screaming “no” inside, and “This is rubbish!” I feel aggressive and hopeless. BK: You believed she shouldn’t wait so long to have a child. And she believed she needed to wait. She’s just like you, and you’re blaming her for being just like you. You’re both guilty of believing your thoughts–that’s all. If you prefer to suffer, go on believing your stressful thoughts. But if you’d rather be happy, question them.

 

Links:

www.thework.com

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

Related Links:

My Daughter Was Killed in a Car Accident—The Work of Byron Katie

Podcast: My Mother Doesn’t Want to Know Me

Listen to this podcast on iTunes.

 

A woman does The Work on a moment in time when she was texting with her estranged mother. Her belief at that moment is “My mother doesn’t want to know me.”

BK: We’re meditating on “She doesn’t want to know me”—is it true?” The answer is always one syllable: yes or no. Notice the other thoughts that arise around this, and gently go back to the question. Do you see images of you and her in the past and the future? Is that you or imagination?

Together, they question statements like “I want my mom to acknowledge me,” “I want her to admit that she screwed up,” “She should apologize for the past,” “She shouldn’t expect me to parent her,”and “She should admit she’s a psychopath.”

“You cannot experience rage unless you’re in a movie.” —Byron Katie

Related Links:

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

My Daughter Won’t Forgive Me—The Work of Byron Katie

My Mother Shamed Me—The Work of Byron Katie

Podcast: An Interview with Soren Gordhamer

Byron Katie and Soren Gordhamer discuss bringing inquiry to our thoughts about politics. 

Soren: The recent election has triggered us in many different ways. We typically ignore or react to these triggers, but what is a third way that can create a new world, rather than the division we currently experience? We can begin by questioning our thoughts, but if I don’t believe the stressful thought, can I still fight for the things I feel a need to fight for?

BK: I wanted to change the world, so I questioned what I believed about the world, and the world changed. In other words: I wanted to change the world, so I questioned my judgments, assumptions, and beliefs about the world, and the world changed, as my mind made the shift. 

The universe is friendly, but what we’re thinking and believing about the world may not be. —Byron Katie

To listen to the full podcast, click below.

Wisdom 2.0: Politics with Soren Gordhamer