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Byron Katie's Hotline for The Work

Monday, February 28, 2011

The hotline is for anyone who wants to do The Work right away, by phone or online, with a trained facilitator who has graduated from the School for The Work with Byron Katie.

There is no fee for this service. Here's a link to the  Do The Work Helpline page.

Calling Byron Katie's Hotline:

  • Hotline Facilitators respect your wish to remain anonymous if desired.
  • You must call the Hotline directly. No collect calls will be accepted.
  • You are free to call any one of the listed Facilitators during the hours they are available. Please respect their specified availability and do not call any other time unless you have the Facilitator's direct permission.
  • If all Hotline Facilitators are busy and your phone call goes to voicemail, please leave a message with your phone number. Hotline Facilitators will do their best to respond to your call.
  • When you call, be prepared with a completed Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet and/or a One-liner, or a question about doing The Work.
  • The length of your call depends on a variety of factors. Our intent is to make ourselves available to as many people as possible, and we love supporting you in this way.
  • If you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or others, please call 911 or contact a local mental health organization.

Hotline Facilitator's Responsibilities:

  • It is the Facilitator's responsibility to walk you through The Work, not to give advice or therapy.
  • The Hotline Facilitator is present to work with you when your intention is to meet the Four Questions and Turnarounds with honest answers.
  • If the Hotline Facilitator feels that The Work is not being done honestly, they will let you know and the session will end.

Arguing With Reality

"When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time."

— Byron Katie


"You Need More Money—Is that True?"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Those of us who chase after money to find happiness never have enough. And in the process we create stress for ourselves and for others around us. Sometimes we worry ourselves sick.

Those of us who see money as unspiritual have trouble charging for our services or feel guilty when we do make money. This is the flip side of greed, and it is just as painful. What stories we assign to pieces of paper!

Rich or poor, we believe the same stories over and over again. Isn’t it time for you to end that suffering?

Financial freedom is not about manifesting new cars or high-paying jobs. It is about being absolutely secure and loving whatever reality brings you.

The truth is that you're supposed to have exactly as much money as you have right now. No more, no less.

  • How do you know when you're supposed to have more?
    When you do.
  • How do you know when you're supposed to have less?
    When you do.

Realizing this is true abundance. It leaves you without a care in the world.

However much money you have, do you love it yet? If not, I look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles in January...

What is the Work?

“The Work is merely four questions; it’s not even a thing. It has no motive, no strings. It’s nothing without your answers. These four questions will join any program you’ve got and enhance it. Any religion you have—they’ll enhance it. If you have no religion, they will bring you joy. And they’ll burn up anything that isn’t true for you. They’ll burn through to the reality that has always been waiting.”

~ Byron Katie

Sudden Revelations

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Here's what Byron Katie has to say about sudden revelations (such as the one she experienced) vs the steady work of daily inquiry:


People don’t need sudden revelations. They get what they need when they need it, thought by thought by thought. It’s a constant thing when the mind starts to wake up to itself.


Mind is infinitely creative. And when it’s not stuck, oh my goodness, that’s where the joy comes from. Something happens, and the way we think about it, understand it, see it, is actually hilarious, whereas before it used to depress us.


It would be like saying, “He told me to go away.” You can experience that in two ways: “He told me to go away” (Katie employs an aching, morose voice) or—and here’s how I would say it—“He told me to go away!” (Katie uses a bright, happy voice).


For me, if somebody tells me to go away, that is an opportunity: for me to give the person a better life, to realize where not to be, and to see what could be even better than being with that person I love.


So, the statements and concepts that used to depress me now bring me joy. That is not easily understood by people who believe what I used to believe.

From an Interview With Byron Katie

Pointing To Freedom



"Our parents, our children, our spouses, and our friends will continue to press every button we have, until we realize what it is that we don't want to know about ourselves, yet. They will point us to our freedom every time."

— Byron Katie

Doing The Work - Personal Update

Friday, February 25, 2011

Well guys - I've been working at doing the work and sometimes it seems to work better than others. I'm pretty sure that if I had Byron Katie to talk to every day I'd be well on my way to getting a bunch of work actually done. However... I'm stuck with me... so... there's that!

I really enjoyed watching the video of her working with the guy about his inability to live up to his full potential. And I wish that simply WATCHING someone else doing the work was as good as, or even better than doing the work myself... but... no such luck.

And so, while I could clearly see for HIM - I am still unable to see much at all for ME. My belief system about me being a failure remains intact. I've been thinking that it might be a good idea to check out their free hotline. But I haven't done that yet because... well... I dunno... I might have to give up that "I'm a failure" idea.


I thought I'd post an example of how I've been getting along with "the work." I'm hoping that maybe writing it all out will bring me some small revelation. Also, it might be a conversation starter - or something we could talk about here. Plus, I thought it would be the best way to illustrate how I go round and round and not making much headway. I decided to use the One Belief At A Time Worksheet. The worksheet questions are in bold, my answers are italicized.

Belief: I am a failure at life.
  • Is it true?
    It feels true.
  • Can you absolutely know it's true?
    ok.. no, not absolutely. I mean, maybe there might be some miracle where somehow, by some miracle, I get better at navigating this life experience and actually find success... maybe... a 1% chance... maybe 2%... and I suppose that maybe the simple fact that I am still alive implies a small measure of success...
  • How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
    I contract, close in, constrict, curl up into a little ball...
  • What emotions happen when you believe that thought?
    I feel depressed, defeated, tired, like I want to go and hide under the bed, under the rug, under the couch, under a rock...
  • Does that thought bring peace or stress into your life?
    stress - absolutely!
  • What images do you see, past and future, when you believe that thought?
    my filthy house, burned siding, bills, dirty dishes, my little dog suffering and me not being able to do anything about it, myself old and frail with no one and nothing, working at a hard dirty job until I drop dead of fatigue, OMG! This is really depressing!!!
  • What addictions/obsessions begin to manifest when you believe that thought?
    I eat, sometimes I turn on the TV so I can distract myself from the discomfort, sometimes I get on the computer... like now... and turn out reams of mindless bullshit
  • Describe the physical sensations that happen when you believe that thought.
    My heart feels heavy, my shoulders slump, it's harder to breathe, I sigh a lot, there is such a strong desire to hide underneath something heavy - 6 ft of dirt maybe...
  • How do you treat that person and others when you believe that thought?
    By that person, I'm assuming she means me... and I treat me... hmmm... I go away from myself, I retreat, I'm like... 'get away you pathetic ridiculous creature'... I don't even want to be in the same room with me. How do I treat others? well, I retreat there as well... it occurs to me that I'm in full retreat most of the time these days. Absent. Not there.
  • How do you treat yourself when you believe that thought?
    Oops, already answered that one.
  • Who would you be without the thought? Close your eyes, and observe, contemplate. Who or what are you without that thought? without that thought, I'd be... well... more relaxed, happier, smiling, I'd be ... the word that comes to mind is real. I'd feel like a real person. Like a real me (not THE real me - but A real me).

Now come the turnarounds (examples shown are an example for work on "Paul hurt me"). As you can see with the exception of the first one - I didn't do very well. Only the first one sounds true.
  • To the self. (I hurt me.) -
    and maybe that's what this is about - I'm not a failure at life - I'm a failure of me! ouch!! I have failed myself! Is that true? Yes. Absolutely!!
  • To the other. (I hurt him.)
    This one is hard to figure out. All I can come up with is: "Life has failed me" and I'm not believing it - although I do like the sound of it. Makes it NOT my fault. 
  • To the opposite. (He didn’t hurt me.)
    Let me see... that would translate to: I am a success at life. Not thinking that's true! 
  • Or another opposite (He helped me.)
    I am a successful failure. And this isn't even true either - I'm a failure at being a failure, and have only succeeded in being somewhat mediocre and boring!

Give at least three genuine, specific examples for each.
I wasn't able to come up with 3 examples for each one, but I did come up with at least one for each turnaround. Here they are:

  • I have failed myself.
    Here's an example: I am not "here" for me. I don't take very good care of me. I'm not someone I can rely on for help or comfort. When I'm feeling low, I ditch myself every time. The only time I'm nice to me is when "life" is being nice to me. I am my most fairweather-ist of friends!
    Ok... that's not specific is it? Hmmm... specific... okay, how's this? I sleep on the couch because my bed is so uncomfortable - and even if I had the money for a new mattress or good mattress pad, I wouldn't use it for that because there are so many other things more important than my physical comfort... for example - Norton Anti-virus, which I will absolutely buy as soon as it comes due whether I can afford it or not.
  • Life has failed me.
    An example of how life has failed me? I don't think I can come up with anything here - because I don't think it's really true. My expectations of life have failed me (now we're back to me failing me), but life? Life simply is what it is... Which brings me to the question of how could I be a failure at something that simply is what it is...
  • I am a success at life.
    ... hmmm... can I come up with an example of that? Well, I'm not dead. That implies success of some sort. And even more concrete example is - well, I woke up this morning having NOT died in my sleep.
  • I am a failure at being a failure.
    - ok... what concrete example can I come up with to support that turn around? I have a job where I am very much needed and appreciated. That implies some success somewhere - which makes me not a TOTAL failure. And that makes me a failure at being a failure. I know it's a stretch - but the fact that there is some success underscores my failure at failing... Sounds like a mind game doesn't it? And I'm probably not even really a failure at being a failure - I'm just nothing... not a success - not a failure - I'm in that nothing place in between the two - and now I feel like I'm even worse off than when I started out...

But wait! I took a short coffee break and in the interim, I think I might have come up with something helpful. It occured to me that the "I'm a failure at life" statement doesn't lend itself very well to this kind of work. And maybe it would be interesting to add the word "because". So I did:

I'm a failure at life because...
  • I don't have any money. (not true) I truly don't believe that money equals or even insures success. It makes success easier - sometimes - yes. But many people that I respect and would want to be like do not or did not have money. Besides - I do have some money. And when I really really need it, I always seem to find it. So my failure at isn't about money.
  • I am alone. (not true) For one thing I'm really not alone, I just live alone, and sometimes I feel alone, but the truth is, I am not alone at all. I have family and friends who care about me. I have more than 500 facebook friends - and yes, all but 4 or 5 of them don't even know me - but if I want to have a conversation with a real person - I could certainly do that. So, no I'm not alone. Which means my failure isn't about aloneness either.
  • I don't have any friends. (not true) I do have at least 2 really close friends, and if my youngest daughter counts, I have 3. Which is definitely more than 0.
  • I don't like my job. (not true) Actually I do kind of like my job... as much as a person can like working really really hard doing terrible things like cleaning up vomit and working with crazy people. However! I am appreciated, I am pretty much my own boss, I work with my daughter whom I love, I feel needed, I am important - that place doesn't run nearly as well when I'm not there. No I don't make much money, but we've already hit on the money thing... So, no, my failure isn't about my job.
  • My dog died. (true) Yes, my little dog died, and I loved her so so much, she was my heart. And my heart went out of me when she died and it was really terrible - and brutally sad - but that fact doesn't make me a failure at life. I have not gotten over it - maybe I never will - does that make me a failure at life? Or does that simply mean that I'm a really sad person right now? I think it just means that I'm sad and grieving!
  • My dog got really sick and I couldn't do anything about it. (true) Ok.. now we're getting somewhere I think. This is true - and I haven't been the same since - I find it hard to cope with the simplest of things. It's like I got the wind knocked out of me and never got it back. I'm adrift.  Which actually describes me quite well: Adrift – Afloat and unattached in any way to the shore or seabed, but not under way. It implies that a vessel is not under control and therefore goes where the wind and current take her (loose from moorings, or out of place). Also refers to any gear not fastened down or put away properly. It can also be used to mean "absent without leave".

And there we have it folks - the root of the matter! The REAL truth. I am adrift - the wind knocked out of my sails - no real desire to go anywhere, no direction, loose from my moorings and out of place - I am absent without leave - absolutely true!!

So where do I go from here? I've discovered that no, I'm not a failure at life - I'm just AWOL! Ok. And maybe I want to be AWOL! Maybe I'm mad at life - maybe I don't like life - maybe I'm tired of life - maybe I don't want to be enrolled in the great "naval academy" of life anymore - maybe  my white flag of surrender says "f*ck you" Mr. Life Experience - I quit!! Maybe I'm having a temper tantrum over the whole thing! And if that's true ( and it seems true to me) then what?

What's the work on that? Do I fill out a work sheet about how I'm angry at God and the Powers that Be because my life didn't go how I wanted it to go and now I have to feel actual grief and pain? So, I did the work and now there's more work? Yowsers!!! When do we get recess? Isn't it nap time yet? I'm hungry! Oh, and what's on TV? Don't we have any movies?

Where do we go astray?

Where do we go astray?
How do we start down the path of living in thoughts and illusions rather than pure joy?


Here's what Byron Katie says:

It’s like this, to take a simple example: Your mother says, “That’s a tree.” And you’re a little kid, you don’t have a reference for it; for you, the whole world is one unseparated reality. And then she says again, “Honey, it’s a tree.” You still don’t have a reference for it, but eventually you hear it enough times and from enough people that there is a moment when you believe it. And it’s separated out the moment you believe. You actually see a tree.


What are you believing? It seems benign to think, “There’s a tree.” It seems to be a beautiful thought. But the moment you believed that there was a tree, there was the thought I—there was a you believing that there was a tree. And in that same moment, there was a mother teaching you, “There’s a tree.” There was a whole world of separate things, rather than the reality of what is.


And, really, your mother didn’t teach you, “It’s a tree.” You taught yourself, the moment you believed.


The world you live in is 100 percent your own responsibility. If you don’t like your world, it doesn’t work to say, “Well, it’s my mother’s fault. She taught me how to think.” No. The moment you believed what she was saying was the moment your suffering began. And it’s not just “mother”—it’s everyone and everything around us. It’s the dream—the dream world.
My mother became a believer, and then I became a believer. But when I was 43 years old, I began to think for myself, somehow—by fluke and by grace. And I thought, “Oh, my, I was so mistaken. The world isn’t what I believed it to be. I am not what I believed me to be, and neither is anyone.” So now I live in a state of grace, where I don’t have to know.

Exerpted from an Interview with Byron Katie

Advice


All the advice you ever gave your partner
is for you to hear.

— Byron Katie

Do We Need Teachers?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Exerpted from an interview by Ray Hemachandra:

At an event the other night in Asheville, North Carolina, you said, “Joy is a natural way of being.” In A Thousand Names for Joy, you write, “Sadness isn’t a natural response.” Katie, if joy is natural, why do so many people need a teacher to tell them they can live in it?

Byron Katie:

Well, nobody needs a teacher, though most of us can use a little reminder now and then. Teacher is not a word I normally use. It implies that we all don’t teach equally, and that’s not true. Everyone has equal wisdom. It is absolutely equally distributed. No one is wiser than anyone else.

Ultimately, there’s no one who can teach you except yourself. Each of us needs to look at what our belief system really consists of. Look at the concepts that come across your mind and just notice what you believe.

The Shoulds

“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.”

~ Byron Katie

Why Are We Suffering?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Here's what Byron Katie says about why we suffer:

If your beliefs are stressful and you question them, you come to see that they aren’t true — whereas prior to questioning, you absolutely believe them.


How can you live in joy when you’re believing thoughts that bring on sadness, frustration, anger, alienation, and loneliness? When you believe those thoughts, you think that the world is making you unhappy. But it’s your thoughts about the world that are making you unhappy.

Changing The World


"Since the beginning of time, people have been trying to change the world so that they can be happy. This hasn’t ever worked, because it approaches the problem backward. What The Work gives us is a way to change the projector—mind—rather than the projected. It’s like when there’s a piece of lint on a projector’s lens. We think there’s a flaw on the screen, and we try to change this person and that person, whomever the flaw appears on next. But it’s futile to try to change the projected images. Once we realize where the lint is, we can clear the lens itself. This is the end of suffering, and the beginning of a little joy in paradise."


— Byron Katie

But I Can't!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A man who is convinced that he can't make a living doing what he really wants to do questions his crippling beliefs through The Work with Byron Katie.





For those of you receiving this post via email - these are two YouTube videos showing Byron Katie doing "the work" with someone who believes he cannot make a living doing what he really wants to do. To see the videos, you may have to visit us here at the Prosperity Project website.

Suffering In Paradise

"As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim, that you’re suffering in paradise."

— Byron Katie

Byron Katie Talks About Herself

Monday, February 21, 2011

This is an exerpt from an interview by Ray Hemachandra. Ray asks Katie: Would you talk about the fluke and grace? Who were you when The Work was born, and who are you now?


Katie Answers:

Who I believed myself to be was a hopeless case. I would wake up in the mornings, notice I was still breathing, and hate God for keeping me alive. I would constantly think of killing myself, but I had three children, so that wasn't a possibility.

I was clinically depressed. I was agoraphobic, full of rage, so paranoid that I slept with a gun under my pillow. I would go for days and weeks at a time when I couldn’t even bathe or brush my teeth. My self-esteem was so low that I slept on the floor, because I didn’t believe I deserved a bed.

One morning, in 1986, as I lay asleep on the floor, a cockroach crawled over my foot. And I opened my eyes out of this dead sleep—a 43-year-long sleep—and in place of all that darkness was a joy that I can’t describe. No one had told me you could be alive and happy, and if someone had said that, I wouldn’t have believed it. I thought you had to die—physically die—to escape.

In that moment I was absolutely unidentified, so I can’t say “I.” It was without identification. There was no time or space. There was nothing separate. All that was left was amazement and joy. And whenever a thought—whenever any of the thoughts that had depressed me all those years, those terrifying thoughts that told me how worthless and terrible I was—hit my mind, I saw that it wasn’t true.

I began to laugh—or, without identification, we can say that it began to laugh. It just roared. I like to say it was born out of laughter.

The Work was born in that moment. I realized that when I believed my thoughts, I suffered, but when I didn’t believe my thoughts, I didn’t suffer. And I’ve come to see that this is true for every human being.

So, the first two questions in The Work—“Is it true?” and “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?”—are what I saw when the thoughts appeared. No thoughts are true. They can’t be. I saw that with absolute clarity.

The third question is “How do you react when you believe that thought?” Well, that was obvious: sadness, anger, despair. I saw that all these things are the effects of believing a thought that isn’t even true.

Then I saw that there was no identity until the thoughts appeared, so the fourth question is “Who would you be without the thought?”

Then what I call the turnaround, which is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe, occurred. I saw that for every thought, the opposite is just as true, or even truer. I realized that it was all upside down and backward—what was true, what was not true, what was the dream world, what was the real world.

For example, I used to suffer from thoughts like “My husband should listen to me.” The turnaround was “My husband shouldn’t listen to me.” How did I know that my now ex-husband shouldn’t listen to me? He didn’t. That was reality.

So, I had all four questions and the turnaround literally in a moment—in less than a moment. And when I talk about my world, people relate to it, because it’s so familiar to them. It’s them. They’re hearing themselves.

Inviting people to inquiry is much more powerful to me than describing my experience. When people ask me, as you did, I try to describe it, because it’s all valuable. And when people hear me tell the story, they often say, “Oh my goodness, I get it. I get it!” But it’s not enough.

Asking the questions — actually writing down your stressful thoughts and putting them up against the four questions, then turning the thoughts around and finding genuine examples of how the turnarounds are true — that’s what changes lives. Every cell in your body is awake with inquiry. And you cannot believe the old thoughts again.

Every mind deserves to be free. When the mind is free, that’s the end of suffering.

About Byron Katie

Byron Kathleen Mitchell (née Reid), better known as Byron Katie, born December 6, 1942, is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as "The Work of Byron Katie" or simply as "The Work."

Biography:

Byron Kathleen Reid (or "Katie" as she is often called) became severely depressed in her early thirties. She was a businesswoman and mother who lived in a small town in the high desert of southern California. According to Katie, for nearly a decade she spiraled down into paranoia, rage, self-loathing, and constant thoughts of suicide; for the last two years she was often unable to leave her bedroom. Then, one morning in February 1986, while in a halfway house for women with eating disorders, she experienced a life-changing realization. She called it “waking up to reality.”

In that moment of enlightenment, she says:

"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."

According to journalist Allison Adato, soon afterward people started seeking Katie out and asking how they could find the freedom that they saw in her. People from her town and eventually from elsewhere came to meet her, and some to even live with her.

Katie is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. She is married to the writer and translator Stephen Mitchell, who co-wrote her first book, Loving What Is and her third book, A Thousand Names for Joy.

Katie calls her method of self-inquiry "The Work". She describes it as an embodiment, in words, of the wordless questioning that had woken up in her on that February morning. Adato further writes that as reports spread about the transformations people felt they were experiencing through The Work, Katie was invited to present it publicly elsewhere in California, then throughout the United States, and eventually in Europe and across the world. She has taught her method to people at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, universities and schools, at weekend intensives, and at her nine-day "School for The Work."

Source: Wikipedia

Life is simple


"Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don't have to like it... it's just easier if you do."

Byron Katie

Is it true?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Here's a great list of Universal Beliefs - they seem true... but are they really? There's enough stuff here for me to do "the work" on for the next 10 years - what about you? How many of these ideas do you use to beat yourself up with? I see several of my own favorite whips and chains...   So, how about it guys - let's pick something and get to work right now today!

  • I need to know what to do.
  • I don’t know what to do.
  • I know what is best for others.
  • I know what is best for myself.
  • Something terrible is going to happen.
  • It’s possible to make a mistake.
  • People should not lie.
  • People should respect me.
  • I can control how others feel about me.
  • I feel your energy.
  • I need more money.
  • Life isn’t fair.
  • Parents should love their children.
  • Children should love their parents.
  • I need to make a decision.
  • I can’t do anything right.
  • I can disappoint people.
  • I don’t want to look foolish.
  • There’s too much to do.
  • There’s not enough time.
  • I know what you need.
  • I am worthless.
  • It’s my job to make you happy.
  • I need a partner to be happy.
  • It’s my fault.
  • I should be different.
  • I missed my chance.
  • I need to be careful in life.
  • People should listen to me.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I am a failure.
  •  _______ doesn’t care about me.
  • I need to understand.
  • I need to do it right.
  • I did it wrong.
  • There’s something wrong with me.
  • S/he rejected me.
  • S/he doesn’t trust me.
  • There shouldn’t be war in this world.
  • Women shouldn't be so emotional.
  • People shouldn’t use animals (medical research, food, etc.).
  • The world isn’t a safe place.
  • People are destroying the environment.
  • People are judging me.
  • I know what they’re thinking.
  • They should agree with me.
  • I have to work hard.
  • People should keep their promises.
  • Other people can hurt me.
  • Money will make me happy.
  • I’m too fat (thin).
  • I need to be in control.
  • My body should be healthy.
  • People are not trustworthy.
  • _______ betrayed me.
  • There is a purpose to my life.
  • I need to know my life’s purpose.
  • Life is difficult.
  • People should be grateful.
  • My boss should appreciate me.
  • I don’t belong.
  • People shouldn’t be angry.
  • _______ did it wrong.
  • I am right.
Source: The Work.com

Available Resources For The Work

Here is a listing of the online resources I found for our project.
As you can see, there's a lot to browse through and choose from. 


Free PDF files available for download.
(For downloads in other languages, visit this web page.)


Books and CD's with Byron Katie:

 Other Resources:

Arguing With Reality


I have simply stopped arguing with reality. How do I know the wind should blow? It's blowing. How do I know this is the highest order? It's happening. Arguing with 'what is' is like teaching a cat to bark. It's not very fulfilling. I am my friend and no longer confused.

The way I know that reality is good is that when I argue the point I experience tension, fear and frustration. I lose - not sometimes, but 100% of the time. It just doesn't feel natural inside: no balance, no connection. I want reality to change? Hopeless. Let me change my thinking.

Some of us mentally argue with 'what is.' Others of us attempt to control and change 'what is,' and then tell ourselves and others that we actually had something to do with any apparent change that took place. This leaves no connection or room for God in my life. In the peaceful experience of no opposition to God, I remain aware of my nature: clear, vibrant, a friend, a listener.

~Byron Katie

Doing The Work: A Facilitation Guide

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here is a simple guide on how to do "The Work." Basically, what we are doing is using the following four questions and sub-questions to investigate a stressful belief - for example, "I am a pathetic loser." (Some of the sub-questions may not apply.)

1. Is it true?

(Close your eyes,be still, go deeply as you contemplate your answer.
If your answer is no, continue to Question 3.)

2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?

  • Can you know more than God/reality?
  • Can you really know what's best in the long run for his/her/your own path?
  • Can you absolutely know that you would be happier if you got what you wanted?

3. How do you react when you think that thought? (When you believe that thought?)

  • Where does the feeling hit you, where do you feel it in your body when you believe that thought?
  • How far does the feeling travel? Describe it.
  • What pictures do you see when you believe that thought? Watch it, be still, notice.
  • When did that thought first occur to you?
  • How do you treat others when you believe that thought? What do you say to them? What do you do?
  • Whom does your mind attack and how? Be specific.
  • How do you treat yourself when you believe that thought?
  • Is this where addictions kick in and you reach for food, alcohol, credit cards, the TV remote?
  • Do thoughts of self-hatred occur? What are they?
  • How have you lived your life because you believed that thought? Be specific. Close your eyes, watch your past.
  • Does this thought bring peace or stress into your life?
  • Where does your mind travel when you believe that thought? (List any underlying beliefs, and inquire later.)
  • Whose business are you in when you think that thought?
  • What do you get for holding onto that belief?
  • Can you find a peaceful reason to keep that thought?
  • What terrible thing do you assume would happen if you didn't believe that thought? Write down the terrible thought, and turn it around to the opposite and test it for yourself - is the opposite as true or truer?

4. Who would you be without the thought?

  • How would you live life differently if you didn't believe that thought? Close your eyes and imagine life without it.
  • Imagine you are meeting this person for the very first time with no story. What do you see?
  • Who are you right now, sitting here without that thought?

Turn the thought around.

(Statements can be turned around to yourself, to the other, to the opposite, and to "my thinking," wherever it applies. Find a minimum of three genuine examples in your life where each turnaround is as true as or truer than your original statement.)

  • If you lived this turnaround, what would you do, or how would you live your life, differently?
  • Do you see any other turnarounds that seem as true or truer?

The turnarounds allow you to see the best course of action for you.

The key to experiencing The Work is to go beyond the quick answers of the intellect and tap into a deeper wisdom. Ask, then be still and wait for an inner voice to respond. With practice, this will become easier. You will learn to rely on yourself—not the world—to see what's true for you.

Byron Katie

Getting Started Doing The Work


Well, I promised that we'd get started bright and early this morning, and I have to say that it isn't exactly bright around here nor is it all that early -  but we are getting started nonetheless. In order to do "the work" we'll need to have our tools in order. Those tools are:

  1. An idea of what the work is posted here.
  2. Worksheets and info: First you need to get familiar with the Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet, which can be downloaded here. Then ask the  Four Questions. Next comes the Turn Around. And once that's complete you  Embrace Reality.

Each of the above tools is being uploaded as a separate post. And I'd like to encourage everyone to at least start somewhere today. Whether that means printing out a worksheet, or writing a list of what you'd like to work on - doesn't matter.

And if this is still about as clear as mud, you can download the Basic Instructions - PDF, visit the Byron Katie website, or check out her book: Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life.

I think it would be great if we did the work every day - or at the very least - put some thought into the questions and the turn arounds every day with one day a week committed to actually doing the journaling exercise.

My plan is to systematically go through my list of "stuff I want to work on" with a commitment to completely work through at least one thing. And by completely work through, I mean to explore one of my major themes to the point where I feel 100% sure that I'm "over it."

To help keep us motivated I plan to upload a Byron Katie quote a day. I've found some cool pencil art to use as illustrations for our project. But wait... there's more! I've also got videos, a series of exerpts from an interview with Byron Katie, and maybe even some personal experience stories to share as well. So, it looks like we're up and running...

What Is The Work?


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.

The Work Process:

  1. Fill out the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet
  2. Ask the 4 Questions
  3. Find 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: Learn how to 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 less 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.”

The Judge Your Neighbor Worksheet

For thousands of years we’ve been told not to judge, but we still do it all the time—how our friends should act, whom our children should care about, what our parents should feel, do, or say. In The Work, rather than suppress these judgments, we use them as starting points for self-realization. By letting the judging mind have its life on paper, we discover through the mirror of those around us what we haven't yet realized about ourselves.

Fill in a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet.

Watch the video below to hear Katie describe how to fill out a Judge-Your-Neighbor worksheet.

The Four Questions


Investigate each of your statements on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet using the four questions below. 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. Download the Facilitation Guide for helpful sub-questions.

In its most basic form, The Work consists of four questions and your turnarounds. For example, your statement might be “[Name] doesn't listen to me.” Find someone in your life about whom you have had that thought, take that statement and put it up against the four questions and turnarounds of The Work.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?

Once you have the answers to the questions written down, begin doing the "turn arounds."

Turning It Around

After you have investigated your statement with the four questions, you’re ready to turn around the concept you’re questioning.

Each turnaround is an opportunity to experience the opposite of what you originally believed.


A statement can be turned around to the opposite, to the other, and to the self (and sometimes to “my thinking,” when that feels appropriate). Find a minimum of three genuine, specific examples of how each turnaround is true in your life, and then allow yourself the time and presence to feel them deeply.

For example, ”Paul doesn’t understand me” turns around to ”Paul does understand me.” Be still and witness as your mind reveals to you examples of how this turnaround is true. Those examples might look like:
  • He understands that when I’m angry I always get over it.
  • He understood me last week when he laughed at the joke I was telling him.
  • He understood me yesterday when I told him I really needed to get away with friends. He even stayed home with the kids.
Another turnaround is “I don’t understand me.” Again, find at least three genuine, specific examples of times that you have not understood yourself.

A third turnaround is ”I don’t understand Paul.” Relax, close your eyes, and with an open mind witness as the images and feelings within you begin to show you, example by example, of where you have not understood Paul. Be very gentle and thorough.
As I began living my turnarounds, I noticed that I was everything I called you. You were merely my projection. Now, instead of trying to change the world around me (this didn't work, but only for 43 years), I can put the thoughts on paper, investigate them, turn them around, and find that I am the very thing I thought you were. In the moment I see you as selfish, I am selfish (deciding how you should be). In the moment I see you as unkind, I am unkind. If I believe you should stop waging war, I am waging war on you in my mind.

— Byron Katie
The turnarounds are your prescription for happiness. Live the medicine you have been prescribing for others. The world is waiting for just one person to live it. You're the one.

Examples of Turnarounds

Here are a few more examples of turnarounds:

"He should understand me" turns around to:
- He shouldn't understand me.
- I should understand him.
- I should understand myself.

"I need him to be kind to me" turns around to:
- I don't need him to be kind to me.
- I need me to be kind to him.
- I need me to be kind to myself.

"He is unloving to me" turns around to:
- He is loving to me.
- I am unloving to him.
- I am unloving to me

"Paul shouldn't shout at me" turns around to:
- Paul should shout at me.
- I shouldn't shout at Paul.
- I shouldn't shout at me.

Embracing Reality

After you have turned around the judgments in your answers to numbers 1 through 5 on the Worksheet (and found at least three examples for each turnaround), turn number 6 around using "I am willing..." and "I look forward to..."

For example, "I don't ever want to experience an argument with Paul" turns around to "I am willing to experience an argument with Paul" and "I look forward to experiencing an argument with Paul." Why would you look forward to it?


Number 6 is about fully embracing all of life without fear, and always being open to reality. If you experience an argument with Paul again, good. If it hurts, download another Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and investigate the thoughts you haven’t looked deeply enough into. Uncomfortable feelings are merely the reminders that we've attached to something that may not be true for us. They let us know that it's time to identify the stressful thoughts and do The Work.

Until you can see the enemy as a friend, your Work is not done. This doesn't mean that you have to invite him to dinner. Friendship is an internal experience. You may never see him again, you may even divorce him, but as you think about him, are you feeling stress or peace?

In my experience, it takes only one person to have a successful relationship. I like to say that I have the perfect marriage, and I can't really know what kind of marriage my husband has (though he tells me he's happy too).

Our Next Project

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I've been collecting information for our next project - "Doing The Work with Byron Katie," and if we actually do "the work," I think it'll be a good one! I'm hoping that you guys will join me for 30 days of exploring our beliefs about money, health, love, life, and whatever else shows up.

Because there is such a wealth of information, it's taking me a little bit of time to get things organized. My plan is for us to start doing "The Work" bright and early Saturday Morning (Feb 19th). In the mean time, I might be posting incidental and background information as a lead up to the actual start date of the project.

As a teaser, here's an exerpt from a letter I found on the Byron Katie Website:

In the last month there are so many challenges on my path: I “lost” a lot of money because of the credit crisis. It is about ¾ of the money I had, so there is almost no money left. When I replace the concept money with the concept love, and when I do the turnarounds on all the concepts I have about “loosing money," I feel very creative, alive, strong and free.

Also with my health: Again the doctors probably found some cancer cells in my breast. And when I heard it first I started to cry, but then, that same evening, did The Work, and I experienced a complete other person: loving, strong, caring. Without the cancer story I feel so grateful. Life goes on. Also, at the hospital when they did an examination that same afternoon, I could bear it as I did The Work on “this is my body." Turning that around I came to “this is not my body," and wow is that true!? It is none of my business, certainly not when the doctor is doing the examination-- I could concentrate and relax with no more stories about terrible treatments.

Thanks to this Work, I can deal with all of these challenges. I can trust that what I need now is what I have...

Begging For Mercy - Project Overview

Sunday, February 13, 2011

“If begging should unfortunately be thy lot,
knock at the large gates only."

~Arabian Proverb

Here is an overview of our project on Begging For Mercy. This post provides links to pertinent aspects of this project for those of you who are interested in trying it, as well as a complete listing of everything we explored.

My original idea was to Revisit Our Project On Prayer, and as usual, things took on a life of their own. For my insights into this project, you can read My Thoughts On The Subject. If you would like to try this project for yourself, we'd love to hear how well it works for you. How you work the project is up to you. You can begin at the beginning and work through each post one day at a time in chronological order - or you can skip around.

Please feel free to post your thoughts, ideas, results, joys and disappointments as you go. This is an active blog, and if you post, we will notice and reply.. and give you the benefit of our own experience and our support if it seems pertinent or appropriate. Even though we love you, comment spam is deleted when discovered. Anonymous posting is discouraged, but if you have problems with the comment box, feel free to use that option.

We do have a recommended reading list if you are interested in expanding your understanding. I don't know how up to date it is, but there are a lot of really good books listed. Feel free to add titles and authors that you would recommend. We have a nice collection of quotes posted here on the project, and you can also visit Way Cool Quotes and find a bunch more.

As promised, here is the complete listing of all the posts for our Begging For Mercy Project:

It's our last day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ok guys! This is our last day of the Begging for Mercy project. I think it worked pretty well for me, although I haven't gone back to look at my original goals. I'm putting this post up on the fly - don't have time to pretty it up or beef it up. This weekend I'll be wrapping the Begging For Mercy posts up into a nice little package for future web surfers.

In the mean time, if you have any last minute thoughts or ideas about the whole begging, fund raising, asking for donations, and just flat out asking thing - now's the time to put those two cents in. I deeply appreciate your participation and your insights!

For our next project, I'm contemplating "The Work" with Byron Katie. If anyone has any thoughts on that subject, I'd love to hear them.

Something Fun

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We're winding down now, coming to the end of this project. I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for stuff to post and write about... which is why our post for today is this:

Rules for Begging - A different perspective!










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