November 2008
The Byron Katie Newsletter


Why Can't We Change?

We all know people, family members, or friends who find change difficult.

We know people who always seem to drift into painful relationships. As soon as they get out of one painful relationship, they begin another. Why can’t they change?

We know people who are afraid of life. They stay at home, wrapped in their shroud of loneliness, wondering why they are so depressed. We know beautiful people who insist on dwelling on a minor blemish to feel ugly. We also know people who are angry because things aren’t the way they should be. Maybe they have a job they don’t like. Maybe their child or spouse is sick. Maybe they can’t stand their neighbors. Maybe they’re angry at God. Why can’t they change?

Some of us are stressed about our finances, work, our jobs, our mortgages. We can’t sleep at night. We are quick to anger. We lose our tempers with our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers. Some of us are addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, money, ideas, you name it. We make resolutions only to break them. We think we disappoint everyone around us. Why can’t we change?

Why We Find Change Difficult

The one thing all of us have in common is our excuses. Every vice has an excuse ready:

- I don't have the willpower.

- I don't have the money.

- I'm too young/old.

- My kids/parents/spouse/friends won't let me.

- I don't know how.

- It's not my fault, it's ______________'s fault.

- It's not ______________'s fault, it's all my fault.

We cling to our stories and can't let go. Just the thought of change is stressful. We can't change when we don't really want to.

The Cleanse

New Year's Mental Cleanse
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How to Change the World

Who changes the world?

You do, and because of you, I do too.

I invite you to do The Work, and notice that when you find your own genuine answers, dealing with family, husband/wife/partner, children, all becomes simple, child’s play. The world changes through our answers to the four questions, turnarounds, and examples of those turnarounds, as this way brings the clarity needed for world change. We change the world by questioning what we believe, and changing ourselves happens out of that miracle effect called clarity.

What you believe is all you can project out into the world, as long as you believe it. After you question it, you cannot project out what you don’t believe any longer, so your whole world changes.

When mind changes, world changes.

And the next time a stressful thought appears, you may not experience stress around it. You may even experience laughter. If you ever believed the thought “I’m unlovable,” and today you question that thought, you may never believe it again, and in fact you may even burst out laughing when this thought happens later, because you have realized what’s true, and it cannot shift back to what you are no longer able to believe. And if someone says, “You’re unlovable,” you might think, “Isn’t that interesting? I used to think that too.”

Rather than being hurt, or thinking that the person is unkind, or getting angry at them, you find that you’re open, compassionate, and even amused, because you’ve realized the truth for yourself today and you are solid in it all the days of your life.

Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work can give you is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected. It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears to be on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise.

Loving you,


P.S. I hope to see you all at the upcoming New Year’s Cleanse (newsletter-discount here) >>

A Letter from Texas

Here's a letter from someone in Texas:

obamaDear Katie,

Now that Obama has won, I'm noticing friends of mine are going to the gun store and buying more guns and ammunition. This seems ridiculous to me, but when I ask them why, they reply, "because Obama will take away our guns."

What is wrong with these people? I don't know how to wake them up, Katie. I tried to talk to them about racism and their feelings before the elections, but nothing would change their minds. I'm sad and upset that these "friends" of mine are so narrow-minded and racist.

What can I do to change them? They are normal, decent people in most ways, except when it comes to politics.

love, J

Dear J,

Let’s start with you offering your friends the one-liner “Obama is going to take away our guns—is that true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” Etc. But only if they are open to it.

And for your sake, I invite you to personally work with “Obama is going to take away our guns” and see what it might be like to walk in your friends’ minds, world, and internal life and fears.  I invite you to look at taking away the gun that you are aiming at your friends, the judgments that you are shooting at them inside you.  Also, try working with “There is something wrong with these people,” “They need to wake up,” “I need to do something to change them,” and “They are not decent people when it comes to politics.” For now, let’s look at “These friends of mine are narrow-minded and racist.”

Is this true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true? Can you absolutely know that it’s true that your friends are narrow-minded and racist? Notice that your mind wants to defend your position, to justify, to show proof of why it is true. Notice this and return to a simple yes or a no. Commit to one answer or the other. The Work stops working the moment your mind moves away from the questions and into its old pattern of justification and defense, winning and losing. Just notice these tendencies and continue to answer the questions. Give them a respectful amount of time; you are worth it. There is wisdom beneath the the surface answers, there are answers that are pure gold to you, and they offer freedom that you cannot imagine. When you have given the first two questions plenty of time and answered them, please gently move to the third question.

How do you react when you believe the thought “My friends are narrow-minded and racist”? Do you feel sick to your stomach, disgusted, sad, even frightened for them? For you? Do you see images of them using the guns? Notice how you react when you believe that thought. Do you see yourself as superior to them? How do you treat yourself when you believe this thought, how do you treat them? Give this question some time, be still with it for a while.

Who would you be without the thought “My friends are narrow-minded and racist”? Would you be less frightened, less separated from them, lighter, easier of mind, less judgmental? Would you be happier thinking of and being with your friends, a closer listener, really hearing their minds, hearts, and fears without separating yourself from them?

Now turn it around. Are you being narrow-minded, sweetheart? Have you ever experienced yourself as racist, even a tiny bit? Have you been prejudiced against prejudiced people? Are you seeing these friends of yours as less enlightened than you, less rational, less wise, less open?

Another turnaround: My friends are open-minded and (what is the opposite of”racist”?) open-hearted. Let’s try that one. Where have these friends been more open to you than you were to them? To yourself? How narrow-minded are you when it comes to self-judgments? Where are these friends more open in other areas in life than you are? Find at least three examples of each turnaround, and continue with the next turnaround, and/or begin to work with another judgment that you are holding on to. Because until you do, you are the cause of the separation that is happening in the human race and that separation in the world is what you are putting out there, it is what you teach those in contact with you.

Help yourself. Understand your stressful thoughts. I cannot teach others until I have taken on my own narrow mind and my own racism. And if you need to make new friends, look to yourself. You may consider yourself a much better friend to wake up with after you have taken yourself where you really want to go. For me, I want to deal with anything within me that would separate me from anyone or anything. This is intimacy, oneness, love.

Loving what is, and that would be you,

Change in Rwanda


The Rwandans all came to School saying they were Tutsis, but just before the end of School one of them admitted to all of us that he was a Hutu and expressed his shame about the genocide that was done by the Hutus on the Tutsis. It was an amazing moment. He made amends and spoke of dedicating his life to taking The Work to the Hutus to help end genocide and the ideas that are the cause of genocide, in the name of peace and in the hope that it will never happen again. He wants to heal the wounds of all Rwandans.

The following is a letter from our co-sponsor in getting these five Rwandans into the country to attend the School for The Work.

Dear Katie, and staff,

We have landed back in Panama and the Rwandese have all arrived safely back in Rwanda.

Thank you all so very much for all you did for the Rwandese – especially when we discovered that Germaine was breastfeeding and needed to be with Audrey at night and the sitter I had for Audrey needed to drop her off in the afternoons under these circumstances. And thank you for including us in the School – we got everything we came for and more.

While it was a struggle for the Rwandese to take everything in at first, especially with English being their fourth language of usage, seeing LA and being in California was a lot in of itself, using the escalators was a major challenge for the first few days, after 3 days at the School their concern about not being able to get the work changed to getting it, to being amazed at being able to see the workings of their own minds, and to know that they could, through the inquiry process, change their thinking.

None of us knew how it would be for each of them, and it was thrilling to know how much of it they were able to absorb. By the end of the school they were all debating the wisdom of the 100 day memorial process which is in place by government degree. During this time each year everyone stops working and remembers the genocide in the hopes that this will ensure that it does not happen again. They wondered if their communities could use inquiry to help them let go of reliving the genocide for these 100 days, and instead have one day to honor their loved ones and to move on in life with the understanding that it is the past and is over and to celebrate being alive. And they are hoping they can use The Work to come together in their communities as they did at the school.

We will see how it all continues to unfold,

With love,
Marion and Keith

The New



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