In 1986 while in a halfway house for women with eating disorders Byron Katie experienced a life-changing realization: “I discovered that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but that when I didn’t believe them, I didn’t suffer, and that this is true for every human being. Freedom is as simple as that. I found that suffering is optional. I found a joy within me that has never disappeared, not for a single moment.”
People immediately began seeking her out and asking how they could find the peace that radiated from her. Katie calls her method of self-inquiry “The Work”. Click Here to download a worksheet for doing The Work.
An excerpt from Loving What Is by Byron Katie.
“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is. When our mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want. 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.”
“And yet, if you pay attention, you’ll notice that you think thoughts like this dozens of times a day. “People should be kinder.” “Children should be well-behaved.” “My husband (or wife) should agree with me.” “I should be thinner (or prettier or more successful).” These thoughts are ways of wanting reality to be different than it is. If you think that this sounds depressing, you’re right. All the stress that we feel is caused by arguing with what is.”
“People new to The Work often say to me, “But it would be disempowering to stop my argument with reality. If I simply accept reality, I’ll become passive. I may even lose the desire to act.” I answer them with a question: “Can you really know that that’s true?” Which is more empowering? — “I shouldn’t have lost my job” or “I lost my job; what can I do now?”
“The Work reveals that what you think shouldn’t have happened should have happened. It should have happened because it did, and no thinking in the world can change it. This doesn’t mean that you condone it or approve of it. It just means that you can see things without resistance and without the confusion of your inner struggle. No one wants their children to get sick, no one wants to be in a car accident; but when these things happen, how can it be helpful to mentally argue with them? We know better than to do that, yet we do it, because we don’t know how to stop.”
“I am a lover of what is because it hurts when I argue with reality. We can know that reality is good just as it is, because when we argue with it, we experience tension and frustration. We don’t feel natural or balanced. When we stop opposing reality, action becomes simple, fluid, kind, and fearless.”
The Work is a simple, quick and powerful way to help us connect to the present. Being present is the way to create a better world. Click Here to download a worksheet for doing The Work. The website for The Work is http://www.thework.com . There are several free downloadable documents on The Work website at http://www.thework.com/dothework.php including The Little Book which is a great background and instruction manual for The Work.