Byron Katie developed the powerful method of inquiry known as The Work, which helps people see their problems from an entirely different perspective. Katie became severely depressed while in her thirties and spent almost ten years in deep depression—rarely leaving her bed for the last two. Then one morning, in a sudden flash of insight, she realized that her problem was not the world around her but her beliefs about the world. “What I understood,” she says, “was that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but when I questioned my thoughts, I didn’t suffer.”
Katie developed The Work without any knowledge of religion or psychology. It is based on her direct experience of how suffering is created and ended. Since 1986, she has introduced The Work to hundreds of thousands of people in over 30 countries around the world. She has brought The Work into corporations, universities, schools, churches, prisons, and hospitals.
Since 1998, Katie has directed The School for The Work, a nine-day curriculum of exercises offered several times a year in America and Europe. She also hosts an annual New Year’s Mental Cleanse—a five-day program of continuous inquiry that takes place in Southern California—and weekend intensives in major cities around the world. Katie’s book, Loving What Is, written with her husband Stephen Mitchell, has been translated into 16 languages and has been on bestseller lists at bookstores across the United States.
Time magazine called Katie “a visionary for the new millennium,” and she has recently been approached by several television producers who hope to make The Work available to millions. Katie maintains a busy schedule of public events that attract between 400 and 1,200 people. She is committed to sharing this process with anyone truly interested in living a life of freedom and joy.
• A teacher of fear can’t bring peace on Earth. We have been trying to do it that way for thousands of years. The person who turns inner violence around, the person who finds peace inside and lives it, is the one who teaches what true peace is. We are waiting for just one teacher. You’re the one.
• I am a lover of what is. When I argue with reality, I lose—but only 100 percent of the time.
• If you want reality to be different than it is, you might as well try to teach a cat to bark. You can try and try, and in the end the cat will look up at you and say, “Meow.” Wanting reality to be different than it is is hopeless.
• 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 our thoughts down, and investigate them.
The best way to get started with Byron Katie and The Work is to read her book, Loving What Is. I had heard of The Work, but I wasn’t particularly familiar with the specifics of it. Then one day, I got a package in the mail that included a copy of her book, an audiobook sampler CD, and a letter from Stephen Mitchell, the book’s co-author.
I sat down and then started reading, listening, and learning about her unique process of self-inquiry. Katie has been traveling around the world by invitation, sharing The Work, a technique that has you challenge your stressful beliefs about the world around you (i.e.—your relationships with family, friends, employers, employees, etc.).
Katie’s system is very straightforward. It is really broken down into two parts—writing down your thoughts and then investigating them. You begin your work by writing down who angers, saddens, or disappoints you, including follow-up information connected to your feelings. For example, “How do you want them to change? What it is that they should or shouldn’t be?”
After you write down your thoughts, it’s time to start with the four questions, which make up the heart of The Work. These questions are:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do you react when you think that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
After the four questions, you do what is called “turning the thought around,” which is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe is true. This turnaround might at first seem like simply blaming yourself instead of blaming the other person, but go deeper into it and you'll find an acceptance of reality that is independent of fault and blame. Byron Katie’s process of self-examination can lead directly to freedom, the feeling that a burden is almost magically lifted from your shoulders.
Loving What Is is filled with examples of people applying The Work to a variety of situations, from everyday frustrations all the way to rape, incest, and cancer. The Work is amazingly simple, and the rewards can lead to lasting peace, clarity, and greater intimacy with the people in your life.
ADDRESS: Byron Katie International
P.O. Box 1206
Ojai, CA 93023
PHONE: 800-98-KATIE (USA only)