“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
Katie’s new book, A Mind At Home With Itself
Loving What Is by Byron Katie
“I am not exaggerating when I say that the School for The Work was one of the best experiences of my life. I had no idea that something so wonderful existed in the world, and now that I have experienced it, I know that I have to be more connected to The Work and its presence in the world. At the School I felt like I was home for the first time in a long time. I am a psychotherapist, and I am so glad to be a part of this. The Work has been alive in me for years, but now I know that it is not just a small piece of my life but must somehow take a much larger focus. I look forward to finding out where that trust will take me.” -RM
Related Links:Katie’s new book. A Mind At Home With Itself
When I first started reading , A Thousand Names for Joy, I didn’t expect to like it. But very quickly I got swept up by Katie’s simplicity, love, and clarity. It rolled out like music, like variations on a theme—the same basic realization expressed in so many ways, and under so many varying circumstances. As I read on, I found that I wasn’t being “educated” about the awakened mind, I was seeing it in action, I was feeling it. It was amazingly personal. For me it was a transmission, which is much more valuable than any explanation could be. In the end, I was blown out by this book. It is the most incredible teaching I’ve ever read.
Katie’s Work is absolutely different from anyone else’s. Most self-help books aren’t really about anyone’s “self” except the author’s. They provide you with their ideas about how you can be happy, and these ideas are supposed to work for everyone. But instead of offering a one-size-fits-all strategy, Katie has shown me how to craft my own solutions, under any and all circumstances. The value of this can’t be overstated.
In addition to helping me with problems after they’ve arisen, The Work showed me how to stop the problems from arising in the first place. I’ve learned that the way to counterbalance difficult emotions is not necessarily to explore or analyze them, but to catch them as they present themselves, question their validity, and then simply let them go. Once I examine any thought whatsoever, I’m struck by what it really, truly is in the first place: a thought. A thought has no bearing on reality. If you’re suffering from a broken heart, for example, when you look, you see that your heart is not really broken. No matter how hard you try, you literally cannot find a broken heart. There is only the thought that a broken heart exists. The funny thing is that if you stop believing that thought, the heartbreak also stops—not because you’ve healed it, but because it was never there in the first place.
It can be difficult to believe that it’s this simple, but it is. Most self-help strategies are detailed commentaries on complex psychological or spiritual theories. But Katie’s suggestions are almost pre-psychology and even pre-spirituality. They’re about how the mind naturally works, no matter how you were raised or what you believe. She helps you step off the merry-go-round of newer, better, perkier self-help strategies and instead relate plainly and directly to your life as it is, without a lot of drama. It’s so incredibly practical.
Katie’s emphasis on self-inquiry shines a light on the present moment, something all spiritual teachers tell us we should do. However, they usually don’t tell you how. But Katie does. She taught me how to set aside my beliefs and philosophies about what is going on and instead relate to what is going on. That’s pretty deep when you think about it, but it also may be the reason you may not understand the power of her work right away. It’s so stripped down and essential. It’s not a system of belief, and we’re not used to things that aren’t assigned to a particular school of thought. But because it’s a living tool (not a system or belief), it’s always relevant and can be customized to meet any situation.
One way this has shown up for me is with my husband. Even though I don’t always succeed (ahem), I’ve learned how to separate my projections about who he should be and how I need him to act from who he really is. It actually strikes me as funny to realize that until I could do this, I was probably having a relationship with my thoughts about my husband instead of a relationship with him. I like him much better than I like my thoughts about him.
Like Katie’s self-inquiry, the Tao Te Ching is not a checklist of actions you can take that will solve all your problems. Instead, it’s an uncannily accurate description of how reality works and what the mind responds to. Just as our Western scientists have mapped and catalogued the physical world, the Tao Te Ching explains human nature. What Katie and the Tao Te Ching have in common is that both explain how to step out from behind the veil of calcified belief systems and instead meet your world directly. Both explain how the mind works when left to its own devices and that if we can just get out of the way, its natural wisdom will reassert itself and provide exactly the right solution in all cases.
Kind of a cool turnaround. My original thought was “EK, plays video games too much.” He’s 13 now and and the situation is his report card coming in and his grades being off and putting off doing his homework and resisting his mother and seeing many prior images of this. Everyone seems to agree, teachers, his doctor, family, stop his video games — it made so much sense logically but it hurt me every time I tried telling him to stop. So I did some mindful work on the thought using with The Work of Byron Katie. Asking 1. Is it True he plays too much? and 3. How do I react when I believe that thought? (how do I treat him, and treat myself with the thought?), and 4.Who would I be without the thought and then explore the opposites to see if they are more true than the original statement that he plays video games too much. One opposite that came to me is that “I don’t play video games enough.” This one cracked my chest and my eyes a bit…. what if I spent time with him playing video games? So I downloaded Clash of Clans and began playing and he immediately wanted us to start a clan together. He began teaching me his world of gaming… strategies, techniques, long term planning, farming, gathering other members and the life lessons began. He was able to be the teacher and the leader, I could feel the shift. Some friends of his joined another clan and he shared his feeling about it with me and we talked through it, new people joined, some used a lot of language and were aggressive to others in the clan –we talked through it and I watched his decisions… not as his dad –as his friend. Just about every day I noticed him sharing more and more, some of it very sensitive, privileged and personal… like when he was younger… I’d hear him tell his friends or his friends tell him about me being that dad that played video games with him and his friends. I hadn’t realized some separation that had snuck in with his teenage years and me being too far into his business. Over the break I was also able to talk to him about doing his homework, a little each day –in between our playing. I had a granular understanding of when breaks for school work would fit and very little resistance came. Another shift. We gamed together, we did homework together… so grateful to find this way with him. EK must have put 25 hours into this history project, a ninja dojo, much of it this past week. Working hand in hand, shopping, burning ourselves with glue guns… I’m broken open through this this and so grateful to be IN his clan and not clashing against it and I watch him more easily move out of the gaming world if I ask him to. I notice him spending more time around me and engaging me in discussion more often. I love the deep wisdom that reliably comes from mindfully looking at the opposites of stressful thinking. Such clear strength and wisdom and I am so grateful to know this process and to be able to facilitate myself through the adolescence of my thinking and to turn my advice to him around so I can parent myself to become the friend and father I want to be. I don’t know about tomorrow, but this week has been pretty amazing. Thoughts?
I listen to BK now daily. I’ve been to therapy for years, after which I have studied on my own to help myself break the cycles of depression I find myself in. No one, in all my studies of 50 years, has “broken it down” as simply as Byron Katie does. Each time I complete a Worksheet, I am filled with joy rather than the anger, frustration, or sadness that I was stuck in before “Working” it. She has also helped my son and some of his friends, all of whom are inmates in prison, who are now doing The Work too. So please thank her for me, and for my son and his friends–all of whom, like me, needed profound teachings put so simply.
P. S. I’ve got the book Loving What Is on order, to view subjects like rape and physical abuse, which I can find no mention of on video, either on Katie’s site or on Youtube. If possible, would you ask her to do a visual on that subject with someone actually doing The Work? Some of us learn easier that way by seeing it done.
I’m happy for your progress and send much love to you, your son, and his friends. I love that they are breaking free from the prison of the mind, the only real prison to break free from.
Physical abuse: I suggest that you get in touch with and visualize a particular time that you were actually being abused. Focus on a moment of fear during the abuse and write your Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet from that moment as though it were happening now. When you have meditatively written down the thoughts that you were thinking in that terrible moment, question each of those thoughts, using all four questions and turnarounds. Let me know what you discover.
Love without choice,
From The School for The Work participant:
“So I was doing the work with my partner yesterday and I had a funny realization. Essentially we had done the same worksheet. In mine I was the one pissed (someone was feeding my kid junk) and in his someone was pissed at him (he was accused of feeding a kid junk) and I realized with all 4 people on the 2 worksheets we were all just doing our best to love in the best way we knew how. Wouldn’t it be easier to just KNOW THAT ‘n skip the worksheets? Lol-—’n I’m still gonna do the worksheets.”
When I was about 20 years old and I felt myself being pulled to your book. I brought it with me on my holiday to Turkey, and when I read about the 4th question for the first time “Who would you be without that thought?” something exploded in my mind. I had never ever thought of that question and it opened a whole new perspective in my mind. Thank you.
Katie’s books can be found at www.storeforthework.com
“Someone posted about this book (Loving What Is) on social media a while back. Thank you to whomever it was, I’ve recommended it to 3 friends. Enjoy!”
” This book (Loving What Is) means so much to me! It changed my path.”
“The Universe has pointed me in your direction recently and your work has blown me away, shattered my ego, and now beginning to open my heart, thank you, I am grateful for your amazing mind.”
“My partner and I just got done doing The Work for kids with my 8 year old. There is a kid in his class he has been having trouble with. This is really helping!”
A friend introduced me to The Work after watching me go through a difficult break up. He helped me complete a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet, and by the time I did the final turnaround, my “problem” had completely resolved. I was utterly amazed that an issue I spent two years working on in counseling could be eliminated in a matter of moments just by doing this simple JYNWorksheet.
A.L. United States
In 2006, I was searching for purpose and meaning and trying to understand life, the world, the universe, everything. While I was searching, I randomly came across a Byron Katie video (“I thought you were supposed to love me”). I had no idea what I was about to get into and almost stopped it because it was so long and I was supposed to be working. But I kept watching and in the middle something just clicked. I felt like his realization was a realization for me, and his freedom was my freedom. It opened my mind and heart and ever since then my life has not been the same.
The School of Byron Katie: of course, I didn’t want to go
by L.R, LCSW
I dragged my feet on going to The School. I had already done it all (or so I thought): Jungian analysis, spiritual seeking worldwide, attendance at the birth of the new age at Esalen in the ’70’s, endless variety of workshops, etc. etc. etc.
Not to mention worksheets galore with fine facilitators.
I called the School organizers up many times and asked many questions. I tried to find out who, what, where, when and how in great detail.
They seemed so vague. I didn’t want to go.
But one day I said yes.
The rest is impossible to put into words but let me say that the people, the place, what we did, what I heard, what I saw, what I felt is still burning up my suffering in the fire of love.
Not a flash but a huge, unending blaze that continuously illuminates, transforms and heals my relationship to Reality. Also known as God.
I may sound as abstract as “they” did but believe me when I say that The School has worked miracles in my heart and mind still combusting in revelations that can only be experienced directly.
And then there is Byron Katie…….
You deserve her.
Your true self.
with love, L.