The Work (Byron Katie)
If you experience a recurring, stressful situation, realize the feeling and the judgment towards the other person or situation, and why.
– “I’m upset because NN always complaints and is never satisfied.”
– “I’m angry because I can never stand up for myself in front of others.”
Then place the following four questions:
1. Is that true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
3. What happens when you believe that thought? (Feelings, thoughts, and actions)
4. Who would you be without that thought?
In the next round you can continue to experiment and change the initial situation above. Check your belief again with the 4 questions, after you’ve modified it:
– Other (“I always complain to others and I am never satisfied”)
– To yourself (“I always complain about myself and am never satisfied with myself”)
– To the contrary (“I am patient with myself and happy”)
Background & Impact
The Work is a very efficient method to identify thoughts and questions that cause stress. We realize that it is not the situation itself that is the problem, but our thoughts and feelings about it. The last question is a potential mind-stopper who can make you suddenly realize your true nature.
The originator of the technique, Byron Katie, suffered for years from severe depression. One morning she experienced a life-changing realization. She discovered that she suffered when she felt something should be different than it was (“My husband should be more like me”, “My children should appreciate me”), and that she felt at peace, if she didn’t think these thoughts. She realized that the world around her was not the cause for her depression, but her beliefs about it.