The Work is a simple yet powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It’s a way to understand what’s hurting you, and to address the cause of your problems with clarity. In its most basic form, The Work consists of four questions and the turnarounds.
People who do The Work as an ongoing practice commonly report:
- Alleviation of depression: Find resolution, even happiness, in situations that were once debilitating.
- Decreased stress: Live with less anxiety or fear.
- Improved relationships: Experience deeper connection and intimacy with your partner, your parents, your children, your friends, and yourself.
- Reduced anger: Understand what makes you angry and resentful and become reactive less often, with less intensity.
- Increased mental clarity: Live and work more intelligently and effectively, with integrity.
- More energy: Experience a new sense of ongoing vigor and well-being.
- More peace: Discover how to become “a lover of what is.”
How does The Work work?
1. First step: Identify the stressful thoughts
Fill in the Judge your neighbour worksheet
For thousands of years we’ve been told not to judge—but let’s face it, we do it all the time. We all have judgments running in our heads. Through The Work we finally have permission to let those judgments speak out, or even scream out, on paper. We may find that even the most unpleasant thoughts can be met with unconditional love.
2. Second step: Test it for yourself, if it is true what you believe
The four questions
Investigate each of your statements from the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet using the four questions. The Work is meditation. It’s about opening to your heart, not about trying to change your thoughts. Ask the questions, then go inside and wait for the deeper answers to surface.
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know that it is true?
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
3. Third step: Change your perspective – the turnarounds
Finally, turn around the concept you just questioned. This is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed. Turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how the turnaround is true for you in this situation.
To do the turnarounds, find opposites of the original statement on your Worksheet. Often a statement can be turned around to the self, to the other, and to the opposite.
Not every statement has as many as three turnarounds, and some have more than three. Some turnarounds may not make any sense to you. Don’t force these.
The turnarounds are a very powerful part of The Work. As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything else is responsible for your suffering - the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of the victim, that you’re suffering in paradise.
Who is Byron Katie?
Byron Kathleen Reid became severely depressed while in her thirties. Over a ten-year period her depression deepened, and for the last two years Katie (as she is called) was seldom able to leave her bedroom. Then one morning, from the depths of despair, she experienced a life-changing realization.
Katie saw that when she believed her thoughts she suffered, and that when she didn’t believe her thoughts she didn’t suffer. What had been causing her depression was not the world around her, but what she believed about the world around her. In a ash of insight, she saw that our attempt to find happiness was backward—instead of hopelessly trying to change the world to match our thoughts about how it “should” be, we can question these thoughts and, by meeting reality as it is, experience unimaginable freedom and joy. As a result, a bedridden, suicidal woman became filled with love for everything life brings.
Katie developed a simple yet powerful method of inquiry, called The Work, that showed people how to free themselves. Her insight into the mind is consistent with leading-edge research in cognitive neuroscience, and The Work has been compared to the Socratic dialogue, Buddhist teachings, and twelve- step programs. But Katie developed her method without any knowledge of religion or psychology.
The Work is based purely on one woman’s direct experience of how suffering is created and ended. It is astonishingly simple, accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, and requires nothing more than a pen and paper and a willingness to open the mind. Katie saw right away that giving people her insights or answers was of little value—instead, she offers a process that can give people their own answers. The first people exposed to her Work reported that the experience was transformational, and she soon began receiving invitations to teach the process publicly.
Since 1986 Katie has introduced The Work to millions of people around the world. In addition to public events, she has done The Work in corporations, universities, schools, churches, prisons, and hospitals.
Here you find the so called Little Book – offering a short summary from Byron Katies Bestseller “Loving what is”.
Byron Katie founded the Institute for The Work of Byron Katie in Ojai, California, for all those who would like to undergo further training as Certified Facilitators of The Work of Byron Katie. It is a place for meditation, training, and personal growth. To become part of the ITW, you need to attend one of Byron Katie’s schools in Germany or the United States.
The ITW offers an intensive program to keep on practicing The Work in yourself, and to facilitate it to others. It is about finding peace within yourself, and thus contributing to world peace.
Here you will find more information: http://www.instituteforthework.com/itw/
The Asociación The Work de Byron Katie (ATW) seeks to support and promote The Work in the Hispanic world. It was founded in October, 2015, and it offers those who are interested in The Work an open space where they can stay in touch and support each other in their practice of The Work.
Members are Spanish-speaking people from all over the world. Byron Katie is an honorary member.
Here you will find more information: http://www.asociacionthework.org