The Work of Byron Katie is a way to identify and question the stressful thoughts that cause us confusion and suffering.
In essence it is just four questions and something called a turnaround……and it’s a process which is done as a inquiry meditation.
The Four Questions
- Is it true?
- Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do I react when I believe that thought?
- Who would I be without that thought?
Turn the thought to its opposite, to yourself, and to the other.
For instance: questioning the concept: He doesn’t understand me.
The turnarounds would be:
I don’t understand myself
I don’t understand him
He does understand me
When doing the Turnarounds, it’s important to take some time to explore how these new versions of the original concept might be just as true as the original concept.
It is hard to grasp the effect of doing The Work unless you actually do it yourself. It’s not analysis, or discussion but internal observation, a witnessing of cause and effect, and discovery. It’s purely experiential. It’s best done as a form of meditation, in which the impact of believing a thought can be contemplated.
You can also download free PDF worksheets such as the Judge Your Neighbour Worksheet (JYN) that supports you in identifying what stressful concepts you are experiencing in a given stressful situation, that you can then question with The Work. This is really helpful as it can be hard to pin down what to work on.
There’s another worksheet called One Belief At A Time, OBAAT that walks you through doing The Work on a single concept or thought. You can do a Judge Your Neighbour worksheet and then take a concept onto the OBAAT worksheet and do The Work on it.
iPhone and iPad apps are also available for both writing the JYN and the OBAAT. All these worksheets will guide you through the questions. They are all available or accessible from thework.com.
Or if you would like to experience being facilitated – and that can be very helpful when you are starting out with inquiry – feel free to contact me. See the page Inquiry Sessions for more details.