The Work of Byron Katie is a process of self-inquiry that allows us to undo what would move us from peace. It’s a way to investigate suffering. It’s a way out of the painful effect of believing what we think and a way into the peace that already exists within the heart. It’s a way to accept what is unfolding and be happy now. We get to be happy without changing the situation.
“The Work is discovering that on the other side of stress freedom is, was, and will always be waiting to be realized from within. That freedom is our birthright.” ~Byron Katie
“All war belongs on paper.” ~Byron Katie
1. Put it on paper.
When you find yourself stressing over a situation in your life, put your harshest frustrations, wants, and needs onto paper: fill in a Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet. (You can download a Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet from www.thework.com).
2. Ask me to facilitate you if you want to.
I will gently guide you to go within. I will invite you to move your focus from the head down to the heart and core of you and ask the intelligence within, is it true? Can I absolutely know that it’s true? The asking triggers the answer to come! Be still. Wait. Listen for the heart’s response.
3. I will help you to notice and identify the emotions you experience and the mental images you see when you believe the thought. How do you treat others? How do you treat yourself? Does the thought bring peace or stress to your life? Can you see a reason to drop the thought? Can you see a peaceful reason to believe the thought?
4. Next, we will spend time in the fourth question and experience who you would be in that same situation without the thought.
Who would you be if you didn’t even have the ability to think the thought?
5. Then, we will look for ways to turn the thought around and find genuine examples in your life where each turnaround is as true or truer.
We may identify and investigate old, underlying root causes of the stress from childhood that affects life today.
It is said that the average person thinks 60,000 thoughts a day. Many thoughts pass through the mind without a reaction; or the reaction is kind, helpful and stress free. Reactions that cause stress are those that oppose reality or thoughts that resist acceptance of what is. These are the beliefs I investigate. Stress lets me know when it’s time.
I can’t stop remembering. I can’t stop a thought coming. But if I don’t believe it, a thought cannot hurt me. When I investigate a thought that causes a hurtful reaction, and do the Turnaround; the truth is revealed. Realizing the truth clears the resistance. I get unstuck from the belief that I’ve been hung up on that kept me in the cycle of pain. I get to experience the opposite effect of what I have believed---that would be peace! What is present is accepted and in acceptance is an inner calm no matter what the situation or circumstances. Peace is added to the world.
Free of stress; embracing what is without need or want and with nothing to avoid or fix, I may be guided from the core of my being. Embracing life as it is, I may accept with compassion and understanding the resistance and accusation I meet in others. I may allow others their beliefs and actions. They don’t have to change for me to be happy.
Embracing life and loving what is—inner joy may override physical discomfort. For example: I wore new shoes to an event where I happened to meet a friend. We danced one dance after another. Nothing hurt.
But when the music ended, I could barely walk
from the shoes hurting my feet. I had left my inner
joy and become aware of the physical discomfort
that was there all along!
The mind fears change, rejection, losing, being alone, being wrong, the unknown, etc., etc. When we believe the mind, we try to avoid what isn’t acceptable, or we impose constraints and conditions upon ourselves and others. If we don’t get what we want, we pull back. We create separation, frustration and judgment for ourselves and defense and justification in the other.
An example of a tricky mind: I stubbed a
finger reaching for a coat to take the dog for a walk.
Thought flew in ....blame the dog. It's the dogs
fault. If you weren't taking the dog for a walk it
wouldn't happen. I chuckled because I saw that it
wasn’t true. Had I not, in that moment and
just that fast, I could have become resentful
and withdrawn from loving the dog. The dog,
meanwhile is peacefully waiting by the door.
Nothing happened but a mental thought---a poor
little ego looking blame in order to avoid responsibility for the stubbed finger and protect its identity! I’m innocent. The dog is innocent. But that lying little ego!
It’s good when the ego shows up like this. It’s how I awaken to my true nature. It’s how I know to turn inward to investigate what blocks my innocence. It’s how I know to do The Work. Freedom is in disbelief.
Do The Work on any troublesome thought about: mother, father, brother, sister, friend, partner, boss, co-worker, those people, lazy people, money, food, alcohol, divorce, society, life, disease, aging, doctors, dentists, drugs, prejudice, him/her, neighbor; the list is endless. Do The Work on any belief that confuses, blocks clarity or causes stress. Do The Work until love is the only reaction and gratitude is the only emotion. Do The Work, and then look for ways in which the situation may be a good thing.
It is good to know that we don’t betray our parents, partners, friends, children, etc., when we write a worksheet on them. It isn’t about them. It is about the thoughts that rob us of our innocence and love in the moment they are believed. Thoughts that often arise when we’re too young to understand that they’re not true: Mother will come, she loves me. I don’t love her when I think she doesn’t love me and I pull away. And I don’t love myself when I think I’m unloved, unlovable, unsafe or when I leave my natural state of peace.
Contact me if you would like to try The Work with me.