The Difference Between The Work and The Secret

Dear Katie,
I’ve been hoping “The Secret” craze would pass as quickly as the Hula-Hoop, then this afternoon I saw it featured on Oprah.

It seems to me that this so-called “secret” is just another way of tricking the mind into thinking it is in control, a message that is diametrically opposed to your invitation to make friends with reality, love what is, just notice, etc.

I don’t understand how someone who has The Work can take this movie seriously; yet, I’m hearing from people I usually consider sensible that they [the moviemakers] are “saying the same thing Katie says.” Lots of people.

Please consider commenting on this movie/book in the Parlor.
Much love,

Dearest Susan,

Here are Stephen’s thoughts:

The Secret: “You can have whatever you want.”
The Work: “You can want whatever you have.”

The Secret: “My will be done. I know what’s best for me.”
The Work: “Thy will be done (=Thy will is done). What’s best for me is what actually happens.” (In A Thousand Names for Joy, Katie says, “God’s will and your will are the same, whether you notice it or not.”)

The Secret: “You can control your thoughts.”
The Work: “You are not the thinker. It’s not possible to suppress your stressful thoughts. But when you question them, they let go of you.”

The Secret: “You can manifest your positive thoughts as reality.” The Work: “Reality already is the best thing that could be manifested. When you realize this, you’re home free.”

Thank you, Susan, for your work during the Los Angeles relationships weekend, and thank Gayle also for being so amazingly generous and present as she gives the Work to people in this world through her excellent recordings. I and thousands of others are so very grateful.

The Secret? So, let’s discover for ourselves if there really is a secret, if in fact one exists. “There is a secret”—is it true? I don’t know, I just don’t know, could be, and how would I know when I have found it? Wouldn’t it mean (if it were really powerful) that when I truly found it, my life and the lives of everyone I love, which is everyone on the planet without exception, would be perfect? That I and all of us would no longer have to suffer from needing, wanting, and shoulding, and would be excited and grateful for what we have as we watch more and more flow in as we need it and always on time, just loving what is here for us right now in this moment? Hmmm. Okay, let’s keep moving.

“There is a secret”—can I absolutely know that it’s true that there is a secret which, if known, would give me the key to having everything that I want and need that I don’t have now in life? One that will give me later what I don’t have now (examples: a BMW, the necklace that I really want, weight loss, a bike)? No, I can’t know. How do I react when I think the thought that there is a secret and others know it and I don’t? I must live in a past and future that don’t exist as anything other than unfulfilled imagination, yearning for what I don’t have and believing that material wealth and better health are the key to my happiness, left out, isolated, unhappy, trying my best to get the things that I want and often failing and feeling like a failure. I begin to believe that I cannot harness this “secret” and end up with the same life that I started with in the first place, with or without material success. Who would I be without believing that there is “the secret?” Loving life, being “the obvious,” rather than being the secretive.

There is a secret? Now it’s time to look for the turnarounds that are as true or truer for you, dear Parlor family. The one-liner is “There is a secret.” What turnarounds do you see and are willing to share with us? Post your comments below, at the end of this post.

If I believe it and cannot find it, see it, bring it in as fact, then I cannot prove it to “myself” in this world. There is nothing that isn’t manifested by mind, everything is as we see it, and that isn’t much of a secret. It is only when time and ownership of “things” (and body is also a thing) are misunderstood that you attempt to dictate and manipulate these two factors (time and ownership).

The secret is that wanting what I don’t have leaves me wanting what I don’t have again when I have what I thought I wanted then. I don’t need to map out a plan for the future, and I would if it made sense to me or if I needed to, but I would have to distrust the nature of the universe and myself first, and I trust “myself” totally without question to love all of life. There is never a limit as to what to do now, as what “I do” is what we all get, and it accumulates because I don’t argue, I follow the simple directions that are always kind. I don’t do later what I am to do now, and no one does. Later is now.

The secret is to love what is. I love what is because this “what is” right now is all that is and all that ever will be! Right now, not later, all my needs are met, all my desires, my wants are visibly in plain sight and my eyes are open to it, and the feeling is love and gratitude for all that is right now at my beck and call without beckoning or calling or having even asked for it, prayed for it, planned for it.

I didn’t see Oprah’s show hosting the Secret guests, I was traveling, but I have heard from others that they more or less ended the show with two, maybe three, of the Secret guests showing their prior plans and desires, wishes, wants, imagining, imaging, making real in their minds whatever it took to “manifest” themselves as guests on the Oprah show and that is why it worked. There may be millions of people doing the same thing, just wanting to meet Oprah in person. They may really want to meet her with all their heart, and it isn’t enough. This could easily move into despairing thoughts such as “It doesn’t work for me, I’m doing it wrong,” and for some of you that I have met on the book tour, this opens the door to “I created my own cancer,” “What did I do to create this cancer?” “If I knew what I did to create my cancer I could uncreate it, and if I can do that it means that I never have to suffer again. I must know the secret or suffer and die unnecessarily,” “I am going to die if I don’t know the Secret; after all, the doctors say they can’t save me. What did I do to create this in me?”

True creation is like this: There is no cancer until the doctor tells someone that they have cancer and then until they believe it they can’t have it. If they have never heard of cancer before, they must first be taught that it exists, and then they can believe that they have it, and that must be taught too. If they don’t believe it from the doctor, then the family has to teach them. We teach them to have it and then we teach them to try and get rid of it, and if they can’t, then they die. We have to teach them that they live first, though. If we haven’t been taught, how can we believe? And we ourselves create “it” (cancer, everything) the moment we believe. All the evidence shows that it’s true, and that is how the belief is held in place. The mind goes from nothing to crazy with fear (really crazy, sometimes). This is the way people create, reinforce, and maintain their beliefs: “I am going to die, they can’t save me, my children can’t make it without me, God is punishing me, I don’t know how to unmanifest my cancer,” on and on. When the phone rings and it is someone you love talking to, you are laughing, talking, enjoying life in that moment: where is the cancer in that moment? Do you have cancer or are you absolutely cancer-free in that moment? Of course, we are absolutely cancer-free until the mind brings back the unquestioned cancer story into reality. I use the term “absolutely” on purpose. The mind creates who and what we are when we believe our thoughts and experience the concepts, feelings, and images in our heads in the moment. This isn’t right or wrong, it is just so in the moment we believe what we seem to be experiencing as our identity.

In my world, cancer has a right to live or die. Everything has a right to life and death, because I know what everything is, and its true nature. If “I” have cancer, that is my identity (that is who mind identifies me as) and as that identity, I may choose to have chemotherapy, do alternative medical practices, medical practices, change my diet, think positively, even though we continue to believe the “negative” unquestioned thoughts, the opposites of what we want to believe, even though we don’t want to believe them. We believe them until we don’t, and inquiry breaks the spell of “negative” thoughts and therefore what we negatively feel and believe. The negative thoughts, unless we question them, override the positive thoughts that we want to believe, and negative thoughts win out, and the positive thoughts are just powerful and ring true enough to make us feel better occasionally. They don’t work when we really are believing the stressful ones, the one that we don’t want to believe: “I have cancer, I’m going to die, they can’t heal me, my condition is hopeless, it’s not fair, I have created this,” etc. With or without cancer, my life is what it is, and I am grateful for that. With or without cancer, I am still sitting in this chair writing to you, and there are two ways to sit here. One is happy, and the other is stressed out.

I look forward to the turnarounds and examples from you, dear family. I want everyone to come to understand what so many of you are coming to understand about the ease of internal life. Please share your secret thoughts with all of us.

Loving you all,

Letter: The Work and Politics

Dear Katie,

I spoke with you on the book tour in Asheville about using the work during my political campaign and you asked me to send a note about it, so here it is.

I live in a fairly conservative county in North Carolina, at least as far as elected officials go. I believe the idea that politics are local and that the best place to start is where you are. In my county we have not had a Democrat elected to 7 of the 9 seats on the board of education in 15 years and the belief was that it can not be done.Many good and well connected people had tried. I filed anyway and several others did as well. I ran a co-ordinated campaign with 2 other candidates and focused on the ideas rather than personality. I was an unknown, never having been involved in politics before.

The short story is I won, getting over 34,000 votes and am now having the time of my life being on the school board.

The work was amazing for me as a way through the process. >From the idea, it can’t be done, to I don’t have enough support, I need more money, I don’t know what I need to know, on and on I would work with my WONDERFUL round robin partner George. He worked with me the month before the election as a special favor and kept the process not only sane but possible. How do I react when I think that thought? what would I do without that thought? It kept me on track only doing the one next thing. The great joy on election night, was having done the whole thing beginning to end, the outcome was really secondary. Being faithful came first. I learned so much about bringing myself back into present time and not believing all the scary thoughts. It was also a great way to find the beliefs that I had used to limit myself in the past.

It also prepared me for what followed. Of a field of really great candidate challengers I alone won. The thought I should not be the only one, is it true? etc. I have learned that we all won, it just looks like me sitting in the seat. I am making friends with all the people I ran “against” and am seeing all the goodness in their hearts. and the children! my goodness I go into the 74 schools we have and they are all mine! sometimes I cry for joy, their beautiful faces like flowers and I am so grateful that I can do my best to serve them.

I never thought of doing this before. nor imagined what a privilege it could be. When I thought about this I heard your sweet voice saying ” you’re the one”. What’s so amazing to me is how being the one has dissolved into being the no one, only playing for all of us.

Thank you so much for the great gift of the work and thank everyone for creating this great game we call living.

Loving you,

Katieism: An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy…

An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy. It’s a gift that says, “Get honest; inquire.” We reach out for alcohol, or television, or credit cards, so we can focus out there and not have to look at the feeling. And that’s as it should be, because in our innocence we haven’t known how. So now what we can do is reach out for a paper and a pencil, write thought down, and investigate.

Live Interview on Monday, March 19th

Steve Maraboli will interview Stephen and me on his “Empowered Living” show on Monday, March 19th at 10am Pacific (1pm Eastern).

You can listen to it through the Internet here; and it will be archived there as well, available as an on-demand podcast.

The topic? A Thousand Names for Joy.

Beyond Katrina

Beyond Katrina: The Voice of Hurricane Disaster & Recovery is sponsoring two free teleconferences for survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to learn how to use The Work of Byron Katie, a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that is helping people all over the world find a greater sense of well-being in the context of life challenges such as hurricane recovery.

In this teleclass, facilitated by Dr. Maggie Carter, Ph.D., participants will have opportunities to fully experience the effectiveness of The Work and learn how to apply it to everyday situations in their own lives.

The free teleconference will be held March 15 from 7-8 p.m. CDT and March 22 from 7-8 p.m. CDT. Attendees simply need to call 218-486-1300 PIN 745633 at the time of their choice and be prepared to be transformed. They do not need to register in advance. (Thank you, Chi).

Bestseller in the Bay Area and the Rockies

Dearest Family,

Your love for passing on The Work has made A Thousand Names for Joy a bestseller in the Bay Area and the Rocky Mountains.

Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are

It’s now on the bestseller lists of the San Francisco Chronicle, The Denver Post, and the Marin Independent Journal. Please keep us updated as you continue to talk about this revolutionary new book in your community.

There is nothing more exciting than watching peace as it moves in the world. Thank you, dear ones.

Loving you,