Photos from The Thinking Project

Photo’s from The thinking Project:

A note from Rachel Pickett:

These photos were taken during a teacher training workshop in October, 2015. The Thinking Project has been partnering with STEM Launch K-8, an urban public school in Thornton, Colorado, with the goals of helping kids to identify and question thoughts that cause stress, think and see from multiple perspectives, build self-confidence and empathy with others, and create a kinder classroom setting rooted in the study of thinking. In October we trained the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade teachers at STEM Launch both in The Work and in ways to integrate The Work into classroom management and curricular content.

We often use metaphors when we design curriculum. One metaphor we use in camps and classrooms is the Brick Wall of Stress → Tree of Questioned Thoughts → Sky of Possibilities. During the teacher training, we learned this metaphor/process by experiencing it. Teachers first wrote down a situation that stressed them out on a “brick” (a red sticky note), and then shared their “brick” with the group and placed it on the Wall of Stress. After we did The Work on a stressful thought, we wrote the thought we questioned on a leaf sticky note, shared it aloud, and then placed it on the Tree of Questioned Thoughts. The leaves on the tree represent new growth. As we question our stressful thoughts, it allows new growth in our minds, in our ways of thinking. Finally, on a sticky-note star, we wrote a new perspective or possibility we discovered from doing The Work. We shared these out and then placed them on the Sky of Possibilities, to symbolize the infinite possibilities and perspectives we begin discovering as we question our stressful thinking and see our turnarounds.

We also explored ways The Thinking Project can test out the integration of The Work and the study of thought into content curriculum. We brainstormed ideas for making The Work accessible to sixth graders (example: “start with ‘what are you feeling?,’ use emojis”), how to make copies of Common Stressful Thoughts About School and teen One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheets available digitally, ways The Work connects to learner traits STEM Launch is already using (example: without a stressful thought we often experience ourselves as compassionate, collaborative, courageous… These are also Habits of a Learner characteristics that STEM utilizes), and ways The Work can integrate with upcoming Problem-Based-Learning units.

Video: Introduction to The Work of Byron Katie—He Lied to Me

A man is convinced that his friend lied to him; he feels hurt and angry. But when he questions that belief, with the help of Byron Katie, everything shifts. “This is the most empowering thing that you’ll ever learn,” Katie tells him. “It’s the truth that sets you free. Your truth, not ours.”

In this brief video, the four questions and turnarounds of The Work are clearly outlined for the concept “He lied to me.” This is a wonderful reference tool for anyone who wants to understand The Work better, or for those just beginning to use The Work.

1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

Download the Facilitation Guide for helpful supporting questions:…

Download a free intro to The Work:…

Do The Work:

For the full-length version:

Huffington Post Article

Twenty-nine years ago, at the bottom of a 10-year fall into depression, rage, and self-loathing, I realized something amazing: that when I believed my thoughts I suffered, but when I questioned them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being.

It’s not reality that makes us suffer; it’s our thoughts about reality. I discovered that we can put any stressful thought up against four simple questions and a turnaround, and meet that thought with understanding. It’s the truth that sets you free — not the world’s truth, not anyone else’s truth, but your own truth.

The Work is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. The first step is to write down your judgments about any stressful situation in your life, past, present, or future — about a person you dislike or worry about, a situation with someone who angers or frightens or saddens you, or someone you’re ambivalent or confused about. Write your judgments about that person down, just the way you think them. Be harsh and childish, and write in short, simple sentences. (You’ll find a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet to download and print at, along with complete instructions on how to do The Work.)

Once you’ve filled in a Worksheet, put each statement on it up against the four questions of The Work, then turn the statement around. The four questions are:

1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?

Turn the thought around, and find three genuine, specific examples of how each turnaround is true in your life.

1 and 2 Ask yourself if the thought is true. For example, “He doesn’t care about me” — is it true? Don’t ask if the thought matches what you’ve been told or have learned. Don’t consider the way life is supposed to look. (He didn’t put down the newspaper when you came into the kitchen; he didn’t call to tell you he’d be late; he walked out the door without saying goodbye. Yes, but can you be sure that any of this means that he doesn’t care about you?) Don’t consult the part of you that knows what the answer should be. The question is, does the thought match what you know inside? Does the thought resonate with your deepest sense of reality? Can you absolutely know that it’s true that he doesn’t care about you? (Your answer to the first two questions should consist of one syllable — either “yes” or “no.” If your answer to the first question is “no,” go on to question 3.)

3. Explore how you live when you believe this thought. How do you react, what happens, when you believe the thought “He doesn’t care about me”? What does it feel like to believe it? How do you treat yourself and others? How do you treat him? Take your time with this process. Do you react with sadness? Depression? Anger? Do you withdraw from him? Do you try to win him over? Do you judge yourself and feel like a failure? Do you light up a cigarette or head for the refrigerator? Be as precise and detailed as you can be.

4. Explore what life would be like without the thought. Use your imagination to give yourself a glimpse of who or what you would be if you didn’t believe this thought. Don’t look for a better thought to substitute for the painful one. Just live for a while in the space that opens up when you view your situation without the old thought. Pretend that you don’t even have the ability to think the thought. What would that be like? Look at him in your mind’s eye without the thought, “He doesn’t care about me.” Maybe you’ll simply see a man who is deeply absorbed in reading his newspaper, who loves his wife but doesn’t want to shift his attention to her right now. Maybe without the thought, “He doesn’t care about me” you’ll find it easier to take pleasure in his pleasure.

5. Turn the thought around. Consider opposite versions of the thought. If a certain turnaround doesn’t make sense to you, don’t bother with it. Turn the original statement around any way you want to until you find the turnarounds that penetrate the deepest. Turning around, “He doesn’t care about me”:

I don’t care about him. (When I feel hurt, I withdraw or I get angry, and I don’t care what he feels.)

I don’t care about me. (I don’t care about myself when I go to war against someone I love. I take away my own peace of mind, I put myself in a hostile situation, I create an enemy for myself, I give myself a lot of stress and sadness. This is when addictive behavior such as bingeing, smoking, or overeating begins to kick in.)

He does care about me. (He may love me and still speak harshly to me. He may love me and still want to ignore me or leave me.)

Ask yourself if any of your turned-around versions seem as true as or even truer than your original thought, and if they do, find three genuine ways in which each of them is true in your life.

Turnarounds can dramatically set you free from a thought, especially if you’ve loosened your belief in it by following the earlier steps.

Judge your neighbor, write it down, ask four questions, turn it around. Who says that freedom has to be complicated?

Video: Can The Work Cure Allergies?

Michelle wonders if her allergies are psychosomatic and if she can get rid of the thoughts that cause them.

“I can’t get rid of a thought,” Katie says. “But if I question it and see something that is truer, then I can never believe that thought again.”

“My mother programmed me to believe that I had allergies,” Michelle says. As she questions this thought, she realizes what a burden it is and how much stronger and freer she feels without it.

“If you believed that thought,” Katie says, “how can you blame your mother? The only thing she’s guilty of is believing it, just like you, so there’s nothing to forgive.”


Video: How Can I Ever Forgive Myself?

Shamyla tells Byron Katie that The Work has led to a deep forgiveness of others but not of herself.

As Katie takes her back to an incident that has caused the pain, Shamyla finds that the evidence of her misdeed is shaky at best. “To hold its identity,” Katie says, “the ego has to hold on to the illusions that keep us hooked until our deathbed. Inquiry shows us a whole different world that we have no access to when we are believing our stressful thoughts.”



Video: Introduction to The Work of Byron Katie—I Made the Wrong Decision

“I made the wrong decision”—is it true? A man is afraid that no one will come to his event because he has given it the wrong name. Watch as Katie helps him imagine the worst thing that could happen at the event, so that he can discover the possibility of freedom now.

In this brief video, the four questions and turnarounds of The Work are clearly outlined for the concept “I made the wrong decision.” This is a wonderful reference tool for anyone who wants to understand The Work better, or for those just beginning to use The Work.

1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?



Download the Facilitation Guide for helpful supporting questions:…

Download a free intro to The Work:…

Do The Work:

For the full length version:

Byron Katie and Mutts Mobile Wallpapers

Welcome to the new world of Byron Katie wallpaper; a way to carry reminders that peace is possible in every moment,
Our first batch features the wonderful MUTTS comics by Patrick McDonnell.
These are all here for you, free of charge, to enjoy as you will.

Just download any or all to your phone and set it up as your wallpaper.

byron-katie-and-mutts-mobile-wallpaper-6 byron-katie-and-mutts-mobile-wallpaper-5 byron-katie-and-mutts-mobile-wallpaper-4 byron-katie-and-mutts-mobile-wallpaper-3 byron-katie-and-mutts-mobile-wallpaper-2

Video: When You’re Certain It’s True

Antonella is convinced that her husband got a secret parking ticket. He hasn’t mentioned the ticket to her, and she found a photograph of it. But with Byron Katie’s guidance, she finds a startling distinction between certainty and openness: when she is certain, she’s frightened and hurt and wonders if she chose the wrong man; when she’s open, she is “the happiest wife in the world.”

“You would be so free,” Katie says, “that when he came home, you would ask him about the ticket. For all you know, he just forgot to tell you.”

Having lost her certainty about the secrecy of the ticket, Antonella finds a surprising turnaround: that she was hiding her knowledge of the ticket from her husband. “When you stop accusing your partner,” Katie says, “you can see how the war begins with you.”


Video: I Need Mom to Accept My Bisexuality

I Need Mom to Accept My Bisexuality

A young woman says that she needs her mother to accept that she is attracted to women.

With Byron Katie’s help, she questions this thought and realizes that it isn’t true. And if she didn’t believe it, she realizes, she would feel whole and strong.

Without the need for approval, Katie says, not only would she be comfortable, but she would be intimate with her mother. “When you don’t need her approval, you can be there for her. You can say, ‘Mom, tell me more. Are you hurt because I prefer women? Do you think this will embarrass you? I want you to know I love you, and I’m going to be there for you. And I understand if you don’t approve of me. It was really scary for me, and I’m still scared.’ Give her the time that you gave yourself.”


2014 Summer Camp for The Work: Questions for Katie

Questions for Katie:

Background: We told the kids a little bit about you today, including the story about a man with a gun threatening to kill you. Some of their questions reflect their curiosity about that story.

What is your religion? (Elijah)

Describe The Work in one word. (Cynthia)

How did The Work get started? (Ryan)
I realized that when I believed my thoughts I suffered, and when I questioned them I didn’t suffer. When I realized this, The Work was born. It was so powerful it even found its way to you in my life.

How fast is The Work spreading in the world? (Justin)
I don’t know. The Little Book has been translated into at least 37 languages. So I think it’s spreading very fast.

Why are you okay with dying? (Elisa)
Because I am only who I believe me to be. What never lived can never die. Nothing can’t be afraid of anything–right?

What is your view on life and death? (Samai)
I regard all life as precious, and death the same.

Do you have any bad days? (Kate)
I don’t. I’m very open to bad days, though, since bad days would show me clearly what I need to Work on next.

What’s the most important thing we should know? (Eric)
That love is the ultimate power. Nothing else is a problem once that is understood. Fear lets us know when we are arguing with reality, which is love, the nature of all things.

What is your perspective on money? (Elijah)
Money is a state of mind. A sane mind is never in need.

What brings you happiness? (Cynthia)
Everything, including your question.

What sacrifices have you had to make since starting The Work? (Kate)

How did you stay so calm when someone pulled a gun on you? (Ryan)
I didn’t want to miss what could be the last few moments of my life. Also, wouldn’t it be silly of me to worry about me when he was the one with the problem? I did think, “I hope he doesn’t do this to himself.” To harm another human being is to really feel bad about yourself. Guilt is not a happy way to live. Also, I didn’t want to miss being with the stars, the sky, the moon, the smell of water and plant life. It was an amazing moment, just like this one now with you.

How did you know what you were going to do and say in that situation? (Justin)
I didn’t. I don’t plan my words or actions; it isn’t necessary, Justin. I just can’t know what’s going to happen next in my life, just as you can never know, and that’s what makes life SOO exciting. That’s why I say, “Love is the power.” To be authentic is to love yourself, to love others, to love the situation, and to be present and aware in the moment (which is the only place you can be), is to understand that love is the power you can trust.

What is your overall goal with The Work? (Elijah)
The end of suffering.

Who is your role model? (Elisa)
It’s not a person; it’s the love I see in all things. And a great role model it is. It never lets me down!

Feedback from the South Carolina Grief Project

South Carolina Grief Project

Dear Katie,

On the Helpline we were invited to provide feedback on our experience of offering support for the South Carolina project. In the early morning (Australian time) of 19 June I received a call from a woman who had a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet on racism. She mentioned the shooting, which I was unaware of at the time. She said to me “I hope you can handle this Worksheet.” As I listened to the Worksheet, I was in awe of her courage. I felt so privileged to work with her and to work on my racism. I loved that I was in Australia and she in the USA, with no separation. Hands stretched across the world in peace.

– Wendy D.