The Work of Byron Katie is a way to question what hurts in your life, and relax.
It may not end difficult events and experiences….
….but it will end your suffering and misery….
….if you do it.
When I first encountered The Work, I made darn sure I failed miserably by NOT really doing it.
You can make sure it does nothing for you, either, and give up in disgust or despair.
1) Never write anything down. Ever. Just do The Work in your head on the fly by asking yourself the questions, if you can remember them.
2) When someone irritates you, feel the rage or angst, or fear and then immediately start berating yourself for being such a dumb ass to get so upset and uptight about them. Do The Work to fix yourself, ASAP, from being the type of person who gets upset.
3) Do The Work on yourself only. Notice that you have zero judgments of anyone in your life, ever. You’re over that. Keep saying “but it’s all about me and how wrong, unworthy, insufficient or stupid I am!”
4) Think of one-liners only….don’t write out a whole worksheet. One-liners are simple beliefs that seem to cause conflict or pain, like “he’s being a jerk!” These just pop in your head in the heat of the moment. Then see #1 above.
5) Only ask the first question when doing The Work….Is it true? Flippantly say “no, nothing is ever true” and move on without spending more time exploring the question.
6) When you answer the second question in The Work: is it ABSOLUTELY true? Start explaining why it is or is not true, in your professional opinion. Say things like “well, it’s true because….” and tell a big long story with lots of footnotes.
7) When you get to the third question in The Work (which is “how do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?”) launch into a novel about how that person did you wrong not only in this recent upsetting situation, but also last year, the year before that, and basically the whole time you’ve known them. Give lots of examples of that person being a total freak or an asshole. Make sure you tell about how you’re the victim here.
8) If you get to question four doing The Work (wow, you made it this far?) then get super puzzled. Who would you be without that belief? Throw your hands in the air and say “I have no f*&$ing idea!” Say you have a terrible imagination and you really can’t think of what it would be like. Or better yet, say it would be dangerous not to have that thought.
9) When you think of a stressful belief, just go straight to the turnarounds. So if you think the thought “I’m afraid of my boss” just flip it right away and say “I’m NOT afraid of my boss” and then fist pump the sky. Yeah! That’s right!
10) Anything you ever think that’s mean or sad about someone, turn it around to yourself and use this as an excuse not to ever talk with that person, tell the truth, connect, or actually change anything. “He abandoned me” flip to “I abandoned myself”. Feel worse about yourself than ever, you judgmental loser.
OK….I hope you’re laughing now.
Really, The Work is not easy.
Simple perhaps, but NOT easy.
If you need help along the way….take a class, call the Help Line, come to a retreat, come to Breitenbush in late June, sign up for Summer Camp For The Mind for short bursts of practice next July, or if you really want to go for it, join Year of Inquiry the next time I open registration.
There are lots of ways to sink into The Work.
Once you get a true taste of how amazing it is to question the stressful mind, you won’t ever stop.
You’ll start to wake up.
What could be better than that?