The work of Byron Katie

‘The Work’ of Byron Katie

I’d never had a session of ‘The Work‘ of Byron Katie before, tho I had heard a tape once, and had a fair idea as to how The Work worked.

The therapist spoke for a moment about how in the ‘Work’ the idea is to put our mind down on paper, and then take it apart. She then gave me a form on which I was to write down all my thoughts about the issue I wanted to work with.

She encouraged me to be petty, to have a good whine, not be rational. Then I read it out to her after which we went to work.

One by one we went through each of the statements I had made, applying four questions to each.

”Is it true? What is the reality of it?”

“Can you absolutely know that it’s true?”

“How do you react when you think that thought? Can you find one stress free way to believe that thought?” and

“Who or what would you be without that thought?”

Seeing so clearly the ways in which I set myself up to have a hard time was full on yet easy.

It was like being undressed, and great to see the same story under the ideas I was running, and to feel myself relaxing, softening as each layer somehow dissolved.

It was amazing, feeling how differently I felt about my work, so much more relaxed, less burdened, identified with a particular mindset.

This change in my relationship has stayed with me in the last 2 days, deepening actually. I am really happy about the session. I like this work, great for the ‘bottom line’ stuff, very direct.

Footnote. Byron Katie is an American woman who developed this simple technique, The Work, which she calls “The end of suffering”, the premise of which is that the source of all suffering is the wish for things to be different.

She has been teaching this all over the world for years.

If one could condense Byron Katie’s Work down to one concept it would be, “How to I know I am meant to be here doing this? I am here doing this.”
See for Byron Katie’s website, and also 21 ways to stay in the peace, an article about Byron Katie, on this website

Written by Mark O’Brien for the “Session of the Month’, Here & Now magazine 1999-2005

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