For our Saturday Spiritual Supplement today I want to talk about Byron Katie’s “The Work”. A few of you have mentioned her so I thought I would introduce the rest of you to Katie and The Work. It is an effective tool.
One of her favorite quotes for me is, “Reality is God because it rules.” Yes!
I heard about Katie through a friend of mine only recently. I was instantly fascinated by her. I ordered a used copy, which is expensive and hard to find, of “A Cry In the Desert: The Awakening of Bryon Katie”, by Weber. The biography is quite hagiographic, but if you can bear that and read between the lines, you gather a fascinating account of a woman at pit bottom, depressed and locked in an attic room in a woman’s center for eating disorders, sleeping on the floor, feared by everyone including her husband and children, and completely unresponsive. Then, suddenly… with the crawling of a cockroach over her foot… she awakens and begins a fascinating journey to the point where she has created, developed and is teaching a very powerful transformational tool called “The Work”.
The Work is basically composed of four questions that you ask yourself when confronted with a problem, a person you are struggling with, or any issue that is causing you stress:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know it’s true?
3. How do you react when you think that thought?
4. Who would you be without that thought?
Then, you “turn it around”. Example: “I don’t like my pastor because he judges me,” could become, “I don’t like myself because I judge my pastor.”
There are other useful questions involved in The Work, such as, “Can you see a reason to drop that thought?” or “Can you find one stress-free reason to keep that thought?” She even has a very interesting and powerful exercise called “Judge Your Neighbor”. In this exercise you, with brutal honesty, judge the person you are having trouble with. You write it all down… bitter, childish, vengeful. Everything. Then you start applying The Work… the four questions and the turnarounds.
I went ahead and ordered her own book, “Loving What Is”. Cheap and easy to find. It holds your hand and takes you through The Work. It seems this community is made up of a lot of readers. So put this book on your list.
Another option is to visit her website, The Work. They are generous enough to provide free downloads of their worksheets and lots of resources on her site.
I personally found it very useful in helping me process my grief and hurt with the church, as well as dealing with my family’s disappointments with me.
The Work. A great tool for transformation.